US Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) has called for the US Department of Justice to launch an investigation into the NRA’s bankruptcy filing, accusing the gun-rights group of abusing the system.
The New York lawmaker raised his concerns during a Sunday news conference in which he highlighted several financing actions taken by the NRA that proved the group was well-funded and not privy to protections afforded under a bankruptcy filing.
Among the points voiced by Schumer, the majority leader highlighted that after the NRA filed for bankruptcy, the group went on to fund advertising initiatives against proposed gun proposals, at one point dishing out $2 million in April for ads against universal background checks.
The agency has also rolled out ads opposing the nomination of David Chipman to head the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF). Chipman, who worked for the ATF for over 20 years, has been a vocal advocate for tougher gun laws.
“They recently told the judicial branch of government that they are bankrupt after the lawsuit by Tish James, and at the same time they’re saying they’re bankrupt, they’re spending millions of dollars on ads to stop universal background checks,” Schumer said, referring to the New York attorney general. “What blatant hypocrisy.”
“That demands an investigation by the Justice Department.”
He later underscored to reporters that “the bottom line is the NRA shot itself in the foot when they declared bankruptcy and still have millions of dollars.”
In a statement to The Hill, Andrew Arulanandam, managing director of NRA Public Affairs, slammed Schumer’s calls for an investigation and deemed the lawmaker’s remarks a “weak, tyrannical threat.”
“The NRA has said repeatedly in public forums that we are financially stronger than ever. We have also said that we will continue to wage, and win, the public debate over ‘gun control,’” the official said. “It is regrettable that Sen. Schumer chose to ignore those salient facts in his press conference Sunday.”
NRA CEO Wayne LaPierre explained in mid-January that the filing and push to relocate to the Lone Star State was rooted in efforts to “seek protection from New York officials who illegally abused and weaponized the powers they wield against the NRA and its members.”
The January announcement came after the New York attorney general revealed her office would be filing a lawsuit to dissolve the pro-gun group, after evidence suggested NRA executives were routinely misusing charitable funds for personal gain.
It’s worth noting that bankruptcy filings are also known for implementing a freeze on the majority of pending lawsuits filed against an individual or company.
However, in the months that followed the bankruptcy filing, a US judge dismissed the case after concluding that the agency “did not file the bankruptcy petition in good faith,” and was solely using the system as a way to “address a regulatory enforcement problem, not a financial one.”
The US Justice Department has yet to comment on whether it will be launching a probe.