I wouldn’t want to be Wayne LaPierre right now. Not only is he named as a defendant in the New York Attorney General’s complaint against the NRA but now word has leaked that he is under investigation for tax fraud by the Internal Revenue Service. This comes from a story in the Wall Street Journal that was posted just earlier this afternoon.
You may remember that Letitia James said in her news conference in August that she was referring matters to the IRS. At that time, she claimed that LaPierre had received personal benefits that should have been reported by the NRA to the IRS on his Form W-2. If the Wall Street Journal’s sources are correct, she kept her word.
From Mark Maremont’s report:
The Internal Revenue Service is investigating longtime National Rifle Association CEO Wayne LaPierre for possible criminal tax fraud related to his personal taxes, according to people familiar with the matter.
Mr. LaPierre was paid $2.2 million by the NRA in 2018, the most recent year available, the nonprofit group’s public filings show. His total reported pay from 2014 to 2018 was $11.2 million.
The story has the obligatory comment from William Brewer III. However, it is interesting to note he is representing the NRA and not LaPierre.
An attorney for Mr. LaPierre had no immediate comment.
“The NRA is not aware of any IRS inquiry but, of course, will fully cooperate with any appropriate requests for assistance,” said William A. Brewer III, an outside attorney for the NRA, who noted that the group’s tax filings are audited.
The story concludes with the note that this usually is a civil matter with some exceptions.
If the IRS believes a taxpayer has underreported income, the agency often pursues the matter through a civil audit, claiming the taxpayer owes back taxes and penalties. To show criminal behavior, tax specialists said, the IRS would have to demonstrate that a taxpayer willfully underreported income, typically over multiple years.
It couldn’t be determined how far along the investigation is, and such probes can end with no charges filed.
I wonder if any mention of this will be made at the Meeting on Members in Tucson on October 24th. For some reason, I doubt any official comments will be made but I’m sure it will be one of the many topics of gossip in the hallways.
While I am in no way making any side by side comparisons, I will note that running afoul of the IRS is what put Al Capone in the slammer.