Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer is calling for the Department of Justice to investigate the National Rifle Association (NRA) for bankruptcy fraud.
“They recently told the judicial branch of government that they are bankrupt after the lawsuit by [New York Attorney General] Tish James, and at the same time they’re saying they’re bankrupt, they’re spending millions of dollars on ads to stop universal background checks,” Senator Schumer said.
“That demands an investigation by the Justice Department.”
In May, Texas judge Harlin Hale, dismissed the NRA’s bankruptcy case because the case “was filed to gain an unfair litigation advantage and because it was filed to avoid a state regulatory scheme.” The group filed for bankruptcy in January and attempted to move its headquarters to gun-friendly Texas.
“The question the Court is faced with is whether the existential threat facing the NRA is the type of threat that the Bankruptcy Code is meant to protect against. The Court believes it is not. For the reasons stated herein, the Court finds there is cause to dismiss this bankruptcy case as not having been filed in good faith both because it was filed to gain an unfair litigation advantage and because it was filed to avoid a state regulatory scheme. The Court further finds the appointment of a trustee or examiner would, at this time, not be in the best interests of creditors and the estate.”
New York Attorney General Letitia James wants the group to be dissolved.
“Weeks of testimony have demonstrated that the NRA and Wayne LaPierre simply filed chapter 11 bankruptcy to avoid accountability,” Attorney General James said in May. “This trial underscored that the NRA’s fraud and abuse continued long after we filed our lawsuit. Without a doubt, the board was deceived when bankruptcy language was hidden in Mr. LaPierre’s contract earlier this year. Today’s order reaffirms that the NRA does not get to dictate if and where it will answer for its actions. The rot runs deep, which is why we will now refocus on and continue our case in New York court. No one is above the law, not even on of the most powerful lobbying organizations in the country.”
The NRA’s lawyer, William A. Brewer III says that the group wanted to “reorganize in Texas” and that was the reason for filing bankruptcy.
“The truth is, the proceedings in question confirmed what the Association disclosed from the outset — the NRA is financially solvent, and the filing in Texas was part of its long-term plans to effectively serve its members. Although the bankruptcy court did not believe the filing was for a proper bankruptcy purpose, it specifically did not find the NRA acted in bad faith. The facts speak for themselves, despite the political gamesmanship of the NRA’s adversaries,” Brewer said.
The NRA says Senator Schumer’s aspiration to have the organization investigated is a “weak, tyrannical threat.”
“The NRA has said repeatedly in public forums that we are financially stronger than ever. We have also said that we will continue to wage, and win, the public debate over ‘gun control.’ It is regrettable that Sen. Schumer chose to ignore those salient facts in his press conference Sunday,” Managing Director of NRA Public Affairs, Andrew Arulanandam, said.
“And unfortunately for Sen. Schumer and his gun control money masters, our winning arguments are protected by the First Amendment. That’s why Sen. Schumer’s weak, tyrannical threat of DOJ retaliation fails,” Arulanandam said.
The NRA launched a $2 million advertising campaign in April to go against President Joe Biden’s gun control efforts.
“How can you say you’re bankrupt at the same time you have millions of dollars to spend on ads throughout the country trying to prevent universal background checks, fundraising and other things that will stop the killing on the streets?,” Senator Schumer asked.
“The bottom line is the NRA shot itself in the foot when they declared bankruptcy and still have millions of dollars.”