Speed Reads

live to fight another day

No 'corporate death penalty' for the NRA, New York judge rules

A New York judge rejected New York Attorney General Letitia James' attempt to dissolve the National Rifle Association in a ruling issued Wednesday, The Wall Street Journal reports.

James sued the gun-rights group and four of its highest-ranking former and current officials in 2020, accusing the NRA of "illegally diverting tens of millions of dollars from the group through excessive expenses and contracts that benefited relatives or close associates," the Journal reports.

These alleged abuses include NRA President Wayne LaPierre's failure to disclose several free "security retreats" he took on a 108-foot yacht owned by Hollywood producer David McKenzie.

New York state law allows the attorney general to bring an "action for judicial dissolution" — also known as the "corporate death penalty" — against any corporation that has "conducted or transacted its business in a persistently fraudulent or illegal manner."

The NRA was first chartered as a nonprofit in New York in 1871.

The gun-rights group tried to duck James' lawsuit last year by declaring bankruptcy in Texas and then reincorporating there, but a federal bankruptcy judge dismissed the petition, ruling that it "was not filed in good faith."

During the trial in Texas, several witnesses testified that the NRA uses its tax-exempt funds to pay for tropical vacations, private airplanes, and weddings.

Although New York Supreme Court Judge Joel M. Cohen declined to dissolve the NRA due to concerns about the "free speech and assembly rights" of NRA members, he did allow the rest of James' lawsuit against the group to proceed.