Republican attorneys general from 16 states are asking a federal bankruptcy court to ignore New York Attorney General Letitia James’s attempts to dismiss the National Rifle Association’s bankruptcy case, accusing her of abusing her power in order to shut down the association.
“The statements made by the New York AG are nothing short of startling,” they said in their filing this week, reports The Washington Free Beacon. “The New York AG’s promise to ‘take down the NRA’ if elected, coupled with her description of the NRA’s advocacy as ‘poisonous’ and ‘deadly propaganda,’ makes it clear that the NRA’s message is the impetus for the New York AG’s dissolution request.”
The Republicans also said that James, a Democrat, has targeted the NRA because it defends the Second Amendment, and said the organization should be allowed to “leave New York for greener pastures” in Texas because of her mission to “destroy” it and “silence its members.”
They added that there is “nothing improper” about the NRA seeking reorganization and filing for bankruptcy to make sure that it “emerges intact from its ongoing battle with its powerful politically motivated opponent. Seeking to thwart responsible government oversight is one thing; getting out from under the thumb of government officials abusing their office is another.”
James did not respond to the Free Beacon’s request for comment.
The NRA’s board approved the group’s bankruptcy plan during an emergency meeting in March in Dallas. The organization and James have been in talks for a week, with bankruptcy hearing proceedings to begin on Monday.
NRA President Carolyn Meadows says the attorneys’ general filing is a “vote of confidence” in the bankruptcy plan and repudiates James’ arguments.
James sued the NRA in New York last August, accusing the group’s leaders, including Executive Vice President Wayne LaPierre, of spending millions in membership money on luxury items like private flights and yacht cruises.
She has pushed to dissolve the NRA through accusations of financial impropriety, but the organization filed a First Amendment countersuit that accused her of political persecution and filed for bankruptcy in January to shield its assets and to remove itself from James’s jurisdiction. In turn, she accused the gun-rights group of “seeking an end-run around a pending regulatory enforcement action in New York.”
The attorneys general say in their filing that it will not serve the NRA’s members well if the group loses control over its assets.
“It’s difficult to fathom how New York believes dissolution of the country’s oldest civil rights organization and silencing those members’ most powerful defender could possibly be in the best interest of the NRA’s members,” they said. “Dissolving the NRA would leave its members with less of a voice and more vulnerable to New York’s efforts to undermine civil liberties. But that’s precisely the point.”
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