More than a week after a Texas judge ruled that the National Rifle Association’s double-secret bankruptcy bid was filed “in bad faith” and dismissed it, Executive Vice President Wayne LaPierre issued a message to NRA members this afternoon.
The gist: EVERYTHING IS UNDER CONTROL! LaPierre’s missive emphasizes that the Association managed to dodge the most deadly bullets that could have fired the NRA’s way. Judge Harlin Hale 1) didn’t dismiss the filing with prejudice, and 2) didn’t appoint a trustee to take over.
Number one means the NRA theoretically could try another bankruptcy filing if they’re foolhardy enough to roll those dice again. Number two means LaPierre and his subservient corps of officers and managers remain in control of the Association.
The takeaway that Wayne wants to communicate to members who may be going wobbly: The NRA remains STRONG AND SECURE.
Well yeah. That’s a big part of the reason Judge Hale dismissed the Chapter 11 filing in the first place. The NRA isn’t insolvent and is able meet its obligations to creditors. Dodging the New York Attorney General’s attempt to shut the NRA down isn’t a valid use of the bankruptcy code, something that should have been plain to the NRA’s attorneys before they filed in the first place (thus wasting somewhere between $15 and $20 million in legal fees).
Here’s the full text of LaPierre’s email blast . . .
Dear NRA Members,
In my more than 40 years with the NRA, we’ve taken part in some bruising fights to defend our freedoms and our NRA. As they say, nothing worth having comes easy.
Over the past month, we did it again. The NRA took center stage in the fight for our reorganization in federal court in Dallas. Although our case for reorganization was dismissed on May 11, there are many positive developments that bode well for the Association and its plans for the future.
Strong and Secure
First and foremost, the legal decision has no impact on our staffing, programs or Second Amendment advocacy. All of our work continues and remains as vital as ever. We will continue to defend constitutional freedoms, promote firearms education, and advocate for and represent our members in all appropriate forums.
This outcome has no impact on all the divisions and affiliates associated with the NRA. Our programs, political activity, charitable endeavors, and Second Amendment advocacy all continue. We remain strong and secure.
Second, the New York Attorney General and others that aligned against the NRA in opposition to the NRA’s reorganization plan were unsuccessful in their effort to derail us. As you may have read, they sought to dismiss the NRA’s Chapter 11 reorganization filing with prejudice or, in the alternative, appointment of a court-appointed trustee. They wanted to see someone else take control of the Association’s business and financial affairs.
None of that happened. The court in Dallas did not appoint a trustee or impose any other form of oversight on the NRA. Instead, the court dismissed our reorganization filing without prejudice, meaning the NRA has the option to file a new case in the future if the need arises. Importantly, there was no financial watchdog (an examiner) appointed, as sought by some.
The enemies of the Association want to claim the NRA filing was in “bad faith” and the NRA should be assessed penalties. But, that’s not what the judge found. On May 14, the judge clarified that he did not hold that the NRA reorganization filing was in “bad faith.”
In summary, we are no longer in bankruptcy court in Dallas – and our mission moves forward.
Our leadership team remains intact. Those outcomes are far from the “doom and gloom” predicted by the so-called experts, many in the far-left media, and gun control advocates. Don’t believe everything you read in the newspaper: we are not going anywhere. We’re fighting as hard as ever in defense of your freedoms.
Our plans are not finalized, but we remain committed to exploring a move of all or part of the NRA’s business operations to Texas – home to more than 400,000 NRA members. In fact, the court observed that we could still accomplish those goals outside of bankruptcy court. In other words, our business operations and plans for the future are not affected by these developments.
The Record Reflects: Committed to Good Governance
During a 12-day court hearing that occurred over approximately four weeks, the NRA established that it complies with board policies and accounting controls, displaced “insiders” who abused the Association, and accepted reimbursements for costs voluntarily determined to be excess benefits.
The hearing proceedings focused, in significant measure, on the NRA’s compliance efforts and the organization’s renewed commitment to good governance.
In an opinion, dated May 11, 2021, the Hon. Harlin D. Hale, U.S. Bankruptcy Judge, Northern District of Texas, wrote, “In short, the testimony…suggests that the NRA now understands the importance of compliance. Outside of bankruptcy, the NRA can pay its creditors, continue to fulfill its mission, continue to improve its governance and internal controls, contest dissolution in the NYAG Enforcement Action, and pursue the legal steps necessary to leave New York.”
Of course, very little of this was publicly reported.
As I told the media, the NRA remains committed to its members and our plan for the future. This fight is about our 5 million members – those who stand courageously with the NRA in defense of constitutional freedom.
Let this be clear: we are an organization that remains committed to its course, even as we confront our adversaries in New York and beyond. The NRA will keep fighting, as we’ve done for 150 years.
Confronting a Political Agenda – and Fighting for Freedom
That means the NRA continues to confront NYAG Letitia James in her attempt to dissolve the NRA.
The NYAG wants to close our doors as part of a lawsuit she filed on August 6, 2020. In summer 2018, then NYAG candidate James called the NRA a “criminal enterprise” and “terrorist organization.” Her subsequent pursuit of the NRA has been characterized by many legal experts and constitutional scholars as a gross weaponization of legal and regulatory power. Even the ACLU recognized that.
As several NRA board members noted, the record now establishes that NRA members can have great confidence in this institution and its plans for the future. We will work with members, vendors, and other supporters to continue the fight for freedom. And we will never shrink from the tough and principled stands we take on behalf of our law-abiding 5 million members.
It all comes down to protecting your constitutional freedoms. The NRA has never shied away from those fights. And I promise you, that’s a fight we’ll always take on.