Schumer wants DOJ to investigate NRA for bankruptcy fraud
U.S. Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer on Sunday called on the Justice Department to investigate the National Rifle Association for bankruptcy fraud, saying the financially stable gun rights group had abused of the system when he filed for bankruptcy protection following a New York lawsuit to put it out of business.
A judge rejected the NRA’s bankruptcy case in May, finding that the non-profit organization had not acted in good faith. NRA leaders have made it clear that the organization is “in its strongest financial position in years” and is seeking bankruptcy protection so that it can change its state of incorporation from New York to Texas, favorable. to firearms.
Schumer, a Democrat from New York, said the NRA’s heavy advertising spending criticizing proposed gun control measures and the appointment of gun control lobbyist David Chipman to head the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco Firearms and Explosives are further proof that his bankruptcy filing was inspired by legal concerns, not financial ones.
“They recently told the judicial branch of government that they were bankrupt after Tish James’ trial, and at the same time as they say they are bankrupt, they are spending millions of dollars on advertising to stop them. Universal background checks, ”Schumer said, referring to New York Attorney General Letitia James. “This requires an investigation by the Department of Justice. “
The Justice Department declined to comment.
Late Sunday, NRA attorney William A. Brewer III accused Schumer of “promoting a false story.”
“The NRA pursued a financial reorganization for one reason: to streamline its financial and legal affairs. The truth is, the proceedings in question confirmed what the Association disclosed upfront – the NRA is financially solvent, and the Texas filing was part of its long-term plans to effectively serve its members, ”Brewer said. in a press release. “While the bankruptcy court did not believe the filing was for an appropriate bankruptcy purpose, in particular it did not find that the NRA acted in bad faith.”
The organization filed for bankruptcy in January, months after James sued the NRA, calling for its dissolution over allegations that senior executives illegally embezzled tens of millions of dollars for lavish personal travel, no-show contracts for associates and other dubious expenses. This trial is ongoing.
Dismissing the NRA bankruptcy case, Judge Harlin Hale wrote that it looked “less like a traditional bankruptcy case in which a debtor faces financial hardship or a judgment he cannot satisfy. and more to cases in which the courts have declared bankruptcy has been filed to gain an unfair advantage in litigation or to avoid a regulatory scheme. “
Schumer, speaking to reporters on Sunday, pointed to a $ 2 million publicity blitz announced by the NRA in April, aimed at tackling gun control proposals, while the bankruptcy case was still pending. The organization said it places ads on television and digital platforms, sends letters and holds public meetings in at least 12 states.
In West Virginia, Schumer said, the organization spent $ 250,000 on television ads encouraging people to call U.S. Senator Joe Manchin, a Democrat, and tell him to reject Chipman’s confirmation. Chipman, a former ATF agent, worked as a political adviser in an organization that supports gun control.
“How can you say you’re bankrupt at the same time you have millions of dollars to spend on ads across the country to prevent universal fundraising background checks and other things that will stop the killings in?” the streets ? Schumer said.
“In the end, the NRA shot itself in the foot when it filed for bankruptcy and still has millions of dollars,” he said.
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