NRA’s $100K daily legal fees should set off alarms at IRS over gun group's ‘creative accounting’: legal experts
Wayne LaPierre speaking at the 2018 Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) in National Harbor, Maryland. (Gage Skidmore/Flickr)

In an interview with the Daily Beast, a legal ethics expert at Stanford Law School was astounded that the National Rifle Association is reportedly spending close to $100,000 a day in legal fees, calling it a "red flag" that has likely set off alarms at the IRS.

Speaking with the Beast's Betsy Woodruff, Stanford professor Deborah Rhode explained that questions abound about the legal expenditures noted in leaked memos that detail approximately $24 million billed since last March and $8.8 million in the first three months of this year.

“One hundred thousand dollars a day? That’s just off the charts," Rhode said about the non-profit, adding, "Even granting that the NRA has a pile of legal problems, the context of this case should send red flags up everywhere. Creative accounting is shockingly common, even among elite firms. And what deters it is a client who’s willing to provide some oversight, which doesn’t seem to have happened in this case.”

At issue is the vagueness of what the NRA member's dollars are being spent on since the legal billings are vague about the services rendered.

“Ninety-seven thousand dollars a day for seven days a week of relatively undefined legal services seems awfully questionable,” explained Campaign Legal Center attorney Brendan Fischer. “And based on the memo, the legal representation started with one relatively defined purpose and has apparently exceeded the scope of the original representation.”

Fischer said the memos will not only draw interest from the IRS, but also at the state level.

“There’s all sorts of red flags here,” he remarked. “It’s the kind of thing that the IRS could potentially scrutinize, but in recent years it’s more likely that state attorneys general are going to review the activities of nonprofits under state law.”

The NRA is already being scrutinized by the Justice Department over interactions with reported Russian spy Maria Butina, and investigators are looking into whether possible Russian cash has been flowing into the organization.

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