Politics Trustee pushes back on NRA's bankruptcy efforts
Texas judge mulls whether to dismiss NRA's bankruptcy petition
For nearly a month, attorneys have argued over whether the National Rifle Association's petition to file for bankruptcy in Texas should be dismissed, and whether its business dealings should be overseen by a court-appointed trustee or an examiner. © SAUL LOEB/AFP/Getty Images Wayne LaPierre, executive vice president and chief executive officer of the NRA, arrives prior to a speech by President Donald Trump at the National Rifle Association Annual Meeting at Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis, April 26, 2019.
The U.S. Trustee's office is calling for the dismissal of the National Rifle Association's (NRA) bankruptcy filing, or for the appointment of an outside monitor, a further hit to the gun rights organization amid scrutiny into its financial practices.
Attorney Lisa Lambert from the trustee's office, the division of the Department of Justice responsible for overseeing and participating in bankruptcy cases, said in federal court Monday that the "evidentiary record clearly and convincingly establishes" that longtime NRA executive Wayne LaPierre "has failed to provide the proper oversight" over the organization's finances, according to .
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A video that shows the National Rifle Association's embattled executive Wayne LaPierre hunt elephants has sparked outrage among animal activists. Your browser does not support this video The New Yorker -- along with the nonprofit newsroom the Trace -- on Tuesday published a video that appears to show NRA Executive Vice President Wayne LaPierre struggling to kill an African savanna elephant for the NRA-sponsored television series "Under Wild Skies.
Lambert added in her argument, "the record is unrefuted that Wayne LaPierre's personal expenses were made to look like business expenses."
The recommendation came on the final day of a trial against the NRA, spurred by a lawsuit filed last year by New York Attorney General Letitia James (D).
James is seeking to dissolve the New York-based organization over arguments that it illegally "funneled millions" of dollars from the organization to pay for the personal expenses of top executives.
Gerrit Pronske, an attorney with James's office, that the bankruptcy filing from the NRA is a "poster child of bankruptcy filed in bad faith."
"The NRA clearly and undisputedly had no financial reason to file bankruptcy," Pronske said during a virtual hearing before a Dallas federal court. "The NRA is vastly solvent and filing bankruptcy is an abuse of this court's jurisdiction."
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Video released by the New Yorker and The Trace shows the head of the NRA fatally shooting a now-endangered elephant in Botswana in 2013.The news outlets said they obtained a copy of the video, which was originally filmed for an NRA-sponsored television series but never aired due to public relations concerns.
The NRA, which filed bankruptcy in Dallas in January and is seeking to move its charter to Texas, has pushed back on James's efforts to dissolve the organization, accusing the New York attorney general of advancing a political agenda.
NRA lawyer Greg Garman said in court on Monday that the analysis from the trustee's office showed that the gun rights group had "natural enemies."
"This Department of Justice may not see eye to eye with the National Rifle Association, but so be it, we have done the right thing," Garman argued, according to .
He went on to assert that the NRA's bankruptcy filing was essential for the survival of the organization, which he called "irreplaceable."
"There is no one who stands in the breach to defend the Second Amendment other than the NRA," Garman argued in court.
The NRA on Monday submitted a reorganization plan that includes an outline for paying outstanding debts, as well as keeping in place the current makeup of executives, including LaPierre, the Post reported.
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The National Rifle Association will spend $2 million to push back on President Joe Biden’s gun control campaign and his nominee to lead the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives. © Provided by Washington Examiner The pro-gun rights organization specifically said it intends to spend more than $400,000 in media advertisement campaigns in West Virginia, Maine, and Montana as a single vote could be enough to prevent any anti-gun bills from clearing the Senate, according to the Washington Post. One ad in West Virginia specifically names Democratic Sen.
The Hill has reached out to the NRA and the trustee's office for comment.
Federal Judge Harlin Hale, who is overseeing the court case, has said that he expects to issue a decision on whether to dismiss the bankruptcy filing or appoint an examiner to monitor the NRA in roughly one week.
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