Federal Judge Hands The NRA A Devastating Defeat


A federal judge has dismissed a bankruptcy filing from the National Rifle Association (NRA), concluding that the effort had been meant to avert the impact of a case from New York state Attorney General Letitia James (D), who has been seeking to get the group dissolved over financial corruption issues. At present, the NRA’s business charter is in New York state, giving James broad jurisdiction over the organization. The bankruptcy claim accompanied an attempt to move the NRA to Texas.

The NRA has the opportunity to appeal the dismissal of its bankruptcy filing. The strategy from the NRA appears to have been to use the bankruptcy claim to make James’s case at least partly moot, but federal Judge Harlin Hale has now shut down the filing, explaining that he is in agreement with the assessment from James’s office “that the N.R.A. is using this bankruptcy case to address a regulatory enforcement problem, not a financial one.” Hale “added that he did not believe the bankruptcy courts were meant to be used this way,” The New York Times explains. Now, the NRA will have to continue to face James’s case.

Notably, Hale “also wrote that he was troubled by the secretive manner of the bankruptcy filing, and the fact that the N.R.A.’s board of directors had not been informed in advance,” the Times adds. At present, the NRA is led by Wayne LaPierre, and the organization as a whole has long been an ally of right-wing causes — but its recent turmoil has no doubt seriously impacted its ability to make a mark. A bankruptcy claim, even if thrown out, is no small thing, and James’s scrutiny of the group over its corruption issues could further impact the NRA’s ability to meaningfully operate.

Whether or not Republicans will be able to manage any major political victories in the next couple of years remains to be seen. Ahead of the high-stakes battle for control of the Senate in the 2022 midterm elections, the Cook Political Report rates two currently GOP-held seats in Pennsylvania and North Carolina as toss-ups, suggesting that Democratic chances are bright.