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National Rifle Association Files for Chapter 11 Bankruptcy

— January 18, 2021

One former NRA donor says the organization’s bankruptcy declaration appears to have been planned.

The National Rifle Association has filed for bankruptcy.

According to Reuters, the last-minute move could help the NRA escape a lawsuit filed against it by the New York Attorney General’s Office—a lawsuit which seeks the group’s dissolution on grounds it misled patrons and misused donations.

As part of its gamble to escape New York oversight, the NRA is trying to use political trends in the judiciary to its advantage.

The NRA, for instance, filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy in a Dallas federal court—despite being incorporated in New York and holding headquarters in Virginia.

In its filing, the group indicated that it would reincorporate in Texas to escape “a corrupt political and regulatory environment” in New York state.

“Texas values the contributions of the NRA, celebrates our law-abiding members, and joins us as a partner in upholding constitutional freedom,” NRA Chief Executive Wayne LaPierre wrote in a letter to members. “We seek protection from New York officials who illegally abused and weaponized the powers they wield against the NRA and its members.”

NRA CEO Wayne LaPierre. Image via Gage Skidmore/Wikimedia Commons. (CCA-BY-3.0)

LaPierre further characterized the NRA’s bankruptcy as a “strategic” move intended to preserve the group’s longevity.

“This strategic plan represents a pathway to opportunity, growth and progress,” LaPierre added.

Reuters notes that New York Attorney General Letitia James has accused LaPierra and other upper-echelon NRA members of self-dealing and mismanagement, alongside numerous violations of state regulations on non-profit operations.

In her lawsuit against the NRA, James alleged that National Rifle Association administrators diverted millions of dollars in donations to fund luxurious lifestyles—using charitably-given funds to take vacations and charter private jets.

The NRA has purportedly also paid some $64 million within the past three years to silence former members who threatened to leak knowledge of management’s misappropriations.

“The NRA’s claimed financial status has finally met its moral status: bankrupt,” James said in a statement late last week. “We will not allow the NRA to use this or any other tactic to evade accountability and my office’s oversight.”

However, The Guarddian notes that the NRA may have another opponent besides Letitia James.

Dave Dell’Aquila, a “former tech company boss” who has donated tens of thousands of dollars to the National Rifle Association, has signaled that he will oppose the group’s plans to declare bankruptcy and fulfill its insolvency proceedings.

Dell’Aquila’s complaint, says The Guardian, is expected to be filed in the next several weeks. He plans to demand an exception to the $64 million the NRA allegedly misappropriated. Dell’Aquila’s tentative lawsuit pinpoints specific amounts of misspent money–$243,000 on NRA executives’ travel to the Bahamas and other exotic destinations, and $275,000 towards designer clothing purchases, among other frivolous expenses.

Current bankruptcy law, notes The Guardian, prevents corporations and organizations from discharging debt incurred through malfeasance.

“We intend to invoke this provision,” Dell’Aquila said last Thursday. “We are going to ask the judge to determine that our claim was incurred as a result of fraud and should be deemed non-dischargeable.”

Dell’Aquila told The Guardian he believes that the National Rifle Association had been planning its bankruptcy declaration for a long time.

“I think they planned this all along,” he said. “It was always an ace they were going to play.

“It’s just tragic that the NRA is wasting millions of dollars in members’ money on attorneys fees and this type of litigation. It’s shameful.”


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NRA files for bankruptcy

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