On Monday, The New York Times reported that, in a highly rare move, a Biden administration DOJ official is recommending the government cancel the National Rifle Association’s bankruptcy proceedings, asserting that they are just a smokescreen to avoid legal challenges from the state of New York.
“Lisa L. Lambert, a lawyer in the United States Trustee’s office, which is part of the Justice Department, said the ‘evidentiary record clearly and convincingly establishes’ that Wayne LaPierre, the longtime N.R.A. chief executive, ‘has failed to provide the proper oversight.’ For a number of years, she added, ‘the record is unrefuted that Wayne LaPierre’s personal expenses were made to look like business expenses,'” reported Danny Hakim. “Mr. LaPierre and the N.R.A. had filed for bankruptcy not because of any financial distress, but as a strategy to avoid litigation in New York.”
The NRA is currently facing a legal push by New York Attorney General Letitia James to have the organization disbanded, in light of evidence that the group was used as a front to fraudulently steer nonprofit money into the pockets of its major executives, including LaPierre himself.
For its part, the NRA fiercely disputes any allegations that the bankruptcy proceedings are a legal ruse: “We have 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,” said NRA counsel Gregory Garman.
“The N.R.A. is in real trouble,” said Georgetown University law professor Adam J. Levitin, who specializes in bankruptcies. “The U.S. Trustee rarely gets involved in this sort of motion, much less urges dismissal, a trustee or an examiner. I cannot see an outcome where the N.R.A. comes out unscathed. I think the real issue is what remedy the judge grants.”
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