The former head of the National Rifle Association (NRA) has been accused of shooting dead an elephant and turning its feet into stools and other household items, following a report.
Wayne LaPierre, who served as the NRA’s executive vice president, allegedly returned from a hunting trip to Botswana in 2013 with his wife, Susan, and arranged for the parts of an elephant to be shipped home to the US, where they were allegedly fashioned into household items.
As revealed on Thursday by The Trace and The New Yorker , the couple asked for their names not to be included in the shipment of animal parts “if at all possible” – allegedly fearing backlash from animal rights campaigners and NRA critics.
The exchange between the LaPierres and the organisers of the hunting trip was obtained by the two outlets after Lelita James, the attorney general for New York – who has legal oversight over the NRA – filed a complaint against the pair for taking “private benefits and gifts in excess of authorised amounts pursuant to NRA policy”.
In a statement on Thursday, the office of Ms James said the items were worth thousands of dollars and “in excess of authorised amounts pursuant to NRA policy to LaPierre and his wife”. The emails appeared to confirm her earlier legal complaint, filed in August last year.
An NRA spokesperson told The Trace and The New Yorker the “activity in Botswana – from more than seven years ago – was legal and fully permitted,” and was not against NRA policy. They added that many of the items were gifted, and feature in the national NRA museum.
Under the rules governing the pro-gun group, gifts from contractors cannot exceed $250 (£179) – a figure that was reportedly far below that of the elephant items, which were reportedly transported to the US through a firm owned by Tony Makris, Under Wild Skies Inc.
According to the reports, the firm was criticised at the time for an episode of a hunting program “Under Wild Skies,” in which the host, Mr Makris, had fatally shot an elephant. That was why Ms LaPierre negotiated with the taxidermist and Mr Makris to have their names removed from the shipment information.
The NRA has faced its own controversies of late, with Ms James seeking to dissolve the organisation for a range of alleged abuses, including corruption among executives.
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