A bankruptcy judge in Texas called the National Rifle Association’s bankruptcy filing disingenuous and “not having been filed in good faith” as he dismissed the petition Tuesday.
The gun rights organization filed for bankruptcy in January despite boasting five million members and 500 employees, and it brings in roughly $300 million in revenue each year, according to court documents.
The filing under Chapter 11 bankruptcy law would have allowed the NRA to relocate its financial assets from New York, where it faces a massive lawsuit from the state’s attorney general, to Texas. The group has been officially domiciled in New York since 1871, though its physical headquarters are in Fairfax, Virginia.
Dallas Judge Harlin Hale wrote, “The Court finds there is cause to dismiss this bankruptcy case as not having been filed in good faith both because it was filed to gain an unfair litigation advantage and because it was filed to avoid a state regulatory scheme.”
The ruling does not prevent the organization from filing for bankruptcy again, though the judge said he would appoint a trustee who would take control of the group.
New York Attorney General Letitia James filed a lawsuit seeking the dissolution of the NRA nine months ago. It alleged that executives used the organization’s funds for lavish personal expenses worth millions, grossly mismanaged the NRA’s finances, and committed outright fraud. The NRA has countersued James. Washington, D.C. Attorney General Karl Racine has filed suit against the NRA’s charity arm, alleging it mishandled donations.
NRA CEO Wayne LaPierre called the attempted move from New York to Texas a “restructuring plan” in a statement released the day of the first filing. He said his group needed to remove itself from the “toxic political environment” of New York.
James called the move a ruse from the get-go, writing in January, “The NRA’s claimed financial status has finally met its moral status: bankrupt.”
Along with legal troubles, bitter infighting among the executive ranks of the NRA has weakened the powerful pro-gun group.