The NRA said it will move its resources toward another lawsuit filed in a New York state court.
The National Rifle Association has dropped its federal lawsuit against New York Attorney General Letitia James, wherein the NRA alleged that James had violated the organization’s constitutional rights and asked that a jury find whether the firearms advocacy group had been operating lawfully.
CNN reports that the NRA has since released a statement saying that it had “voluntarily” withdrew its lawsuit “in favor of pursuing the same claims against James in New York State court in Manhattan.”
The NRA, adds CNN, had filed a similar lawsuit against James in state court in February.
While the National Rifle Association has indicated it feels its resources are better allocated in the New York suit, James says the organization is clearly reeling under the pressure of substantiating what may be baseless allegations against her office.
“The NRA dropping its countersuit today in federal court is an implicit admission that their strategy would never prevail,” James said in a recent statement. “The truth is that [NRA Executive Vice President and director] Wayne LaPierre and his lieutenants used the NRA as a breeding ground for personal gain and a lavish lifestyle.
NRA CEO Wayne LaPierre. Image via Gage Skidmore/Wikimedia Commons. (CCA-BY-3.0)
“We were victorious against the organization’s attempt to declare bankruptcy, and our fight for transparency and accountability will continue because no one is above the law,” James said.
CNN notes that the NRA’s move comes scarcely a month after a Texas-based judge dismissed the group’s petition for bankruptcy.
In his ruling, Judge Harlin Hale found that the NRA had filed its bankruptcy claim in “bad faith”—rather than facing substantial financial hardship, the organization simply wished to avoid investigation and litigation by James’s office.
As LegalReader.com has reported before, James’s office filed a lawsuit against the NRA accusing it of top-down corruption.
In her lawsuit, James suggested that LaPierre and other top-ranking National Rifle Association executives had misused donor funds for personal purposes—buying expensive clothing, taking overseas trips, and chartering luxury flights.
In a separate statement issued last month, James said that the NRA—which had promised to reincorporate itself in Texas if its bankruptcy claim was approved—cannot evade justice by picking courts it believes will be more receptive to its political tactics.
“[Hale’s] order reaffirms that the NRA does not get to dictate if and where it will answer for its actions,” James said in May. “The rot runs deep, which is why we will now refocus on and continue our case in New York court.
“No one is above the law,” James added, “not even one of the most powerful lobbying organizations in the country.”
Despite its loss in Texas bankruptcy court and its decision to drop the federal lawsuit, Wayne LaPierre has assured NRA members and donors that the group remains solvent and strong.
NRA to defend against NY attorney general in Manhattan, drops own lawsuit
NRA withdraws federal lawsuit against New York Attorney General Letitia James