NY & DC AGs v. NRA

NEWS REPORTS

NRA Files Motion to Dismiss New York AG's Lawsuit for Dissolution
The New York Law Journal
September 16, 2021
 

The New York Law Journal reports that the NRA has filed a Motion to Dismiss the New York Attorney General's (NYAG) Amended Complaint, filed on August 16, 2021. The Motion to Dismiss claims that the NYAG seeks to dissolve the NRA in an effort to "silence the constitutionally guaranteed political speech of its 5 million members."

“Since taking office in 2019, the Attorney General has ignored evidence that dissolution is improper and that the NRA Board of Directors acted appropriately at all times,” William Brewer, counsel to the NRA, told the Journal. “The NRA will continue to confront this partisan attack—in the interest of its members and the Second Amendment freedom for which they stand.” READ MORE

NRA Says Its ‘Corporate Death’ Unwarranted in New York Lawsuit
Bloomberg
September 16, 2021
 

Bloomberg reports that the NRA "urged a judge to dismiss a lawsuit by New York Attorney General Letitia James, saying she hasn’t shown rampant misconduct by top executives. Even if she could prove her claims, they would mean the NRA was a victim and that James’ push to dissolve the guns-rights group is misguided, it argued in a court filing." READ MORE

NRA Says Bankruptcy Shows Why NY Attorney General Cannot Shut It Down
Reuters
July 21, 2021
 

Reuters reported that a court filing by the NRA argued that the dismissal of its bankruptcy case and judge’s findings demonstrated that New York Attorney General Letitia James cannot dissolve the organization for alleged corruption. 

U.S. Bankruptcy Judge Harlin D. Hale’s decision cited testimony that the NRA’s finances were the strongest in years and that the NRA “now understands the importance of compliance.” The filing also renewed the NRA’s demand for an injunction against a shutdown. 

The article added that the NRA said that this was “dispositive” of James’ claim that the organization operated in a “persistently fraudulent or illegal manner” that harmed or menaced public welfare, and could be dissolved under New York laws.

READ MORE

 
NRA Countersues NY Attorney General for Trying to Dissolve 'Political Enemy'
Reuters
February 24, 2021

The National Rifle Association has filed a countersuit against New York Attorney General Letitia James, saying she lacks authority to invoke state laws governing nonprofits to dissolve "political entities" such as itself.

In a Tuesday night filing with a New York state court in Manhattan, the gun rights group, which filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy last month, accused James of pursuing a "blatant and malicious retaliation campaign" against it because she dislikes what it stands for. READ MORE

Attorneys General Issue Statements on Amicus Brief Backing NRA Lawsuit
December 2020

On December 21, sixteen Republican attorneys general filed an amicus brief in support of the NRA's lawsuit against New York Attorney General Letitia James. The following are statements released by some of the attorneys general:

Arkansas Attorney General Leslie Rutledge:

“Even if it makes me unpopular in places like New York, I stand committed to protecting the Constitution—particularly Arkansans’ right to bear arms. That is why I oppose the New York Attorney General’s political stunt and am proud to lead these 16 States in supporting the NRA’s lawsuit against New York. I repeat my invitation to the NRA: The Natural State would happily welcome an organization that fights for the Second Amendment rights of Arkansans and all Americans.”
 

Georgia Attorney General Chris Carr:

“The Second Amendment is a basic and essential constitutional right, and I will always defend the ability of Georgians to exercise their right to defend themselves, their families and their property." 

Kentucky Governor Daniel Cameron:

“For nearly 150 years, the NRA has advocated for the Second Amendment rights of citizens across the country and given their membership a platform to advocate for policies consistent with these rights. New York’s lawsuit threatens the constitutionally protected work of the NRA and, if successful, would greatly diminish the voice that Kentucky’s NRA members have in the process. The right to keep and bear arms is a fundamental constitutional right, and we’re going to fight to protect it.”

Louisiana Attorney General Jeff Landry:

“The New York Attorney General’s actions threaten the civil rights of five million NRA members - including citizens of Louisiana. I am proud to fight back against this partisan attack on the First and Fourteenth Amendment rights of law-abiding citizens who respect the constitutional right to keep and bear arms."

West Virginia Attorney General Patrick Morrisey:

“New York’s lawsuit seeks to destroy the Second Amendment. West Virginia remains in fervent support of the Second Amendment. Our office will vigorously oppose any effort to roll back gun rights and attack those who cherish the freedom to bear arms."

Sixteen GOP Attorneys General Back NRA in Federal Lawsuit
The Wall Street Journal
December 22, 2020

Sixteen Republican attorneys general on Tuesday filed a brief in support of the National Rifle Association’s federal lawsuit against Democratic New York Attorney General Letitia James, saying she targeted the nation’s largest and most powerful gun-rights group because she disagreed with its politics.

“The New York AG cannot be allowed to wield the power of her office to discriminate against the NRA simply because she doesn’t like its members’ political views, advocacy, and defense of a fundamental constitutional right,” the filing said. READ MORE

Republican Attorneys General Back NRA in Fight Against New York Effort to Dissolve Gun Rights Group
The Washington Post
December 22, 2020

The ongoing legal battle between the National Rifle Association and New York’s attorney general escalated Tuesday when 16 Republican attorneys general backed the gun rights group in seeking to block a New York effort to dissolve the tax-exempt organization.
 

In August, New York Attorney General Letitia James (D) filed a lawsuit that also called for the removal of CEO Wayne LaPierre from the leadership post he has held for the past 39 years, saying he and others used the group to finance a luxury lifestyle.
 

James’s Republican counterparts Tuesday filed an amicus brief in federal district court in Albany challenging New York’s legal efforts. READ MORE

NRA, Battling on 2 Fronts, Aims to Move AG James' Lawsuit Out of New York City
New York Law Journal
November 13, 2020

The National Rifle Association is battling in court on two fronts to move a high-profile lawsuit brought by New York Attorney General Letitia James aiming to dissolve the gun-rights group out of New York City.

 

The NRA has asked the U.S. Judicial Panel on Multidistrict Litigation to send four federal lawsuits focused on its financial troubles to a courtroom in North Texas. The cases include a First Amendment lawsuit the NRA filed against James. But, in an unusual move, the NRA’s motion suggests that an MDL could include the attorney general’s case, pending in Manhattan Supreme Court.

 

James was dismissive of the NRA’s maneuvering as her office responded on Thursday.

 

But NRA attorney William Brewer argues that James’ lawsuit, filed in state Supreme Court, must be folded into an MDL because it contains the same testimony and evidence that are subject to the other actions. In a footnote to its motion, the NRA said it “takes the view that the action belongs in federal court as a compulsory counterclaim” because James did not actually file a verified complaint until four days after the NRA’s countersuit. READ MORE

ACLU: The NRA Has a Right to Exist
The Wall Street Journal
August 25, 2020

In a commentary published by The Wall Street Journal, ACLU National Legal Director David Cole writes:

The American Civil Liberties Union rarely finds itself on the same side as the National Rifle Association in policy debates or political disputes. Still, we are disturbed by New York Attorney General Letitia James’s recent effort to dissolve the NRA.

 

Ms. James’s office charges that NRA Executive Vice President Wayne LaPierre and other officials misdirected millions of the organization’s charitable funds for their personal use. But the attorney general’s complaint doesn’t stop there. It attempts to dissolve the NRA altogether, thereby penalizing the entire organization for the wrongs of some of its leaders.

 

The NRA isn’t popular with New York’s politicians. Ms. James has called it a “terrorist organization.” Gov. Andrew Cuomo had his chief financial regulator urge New York banks and insurers to reconsider doing business with the NRA and other “gun promotion” groups, and proclaimed in a campaign mailer that “If the NRA goes bankrupt, I will remember them in my thoughts and prayers.”

 

You may have your own opinions about the NRA, but all Americans should be concerned about this sort of overreach. If the New York attorney general can do this to the NRA, why couldn’t the attorney general of a red state take similar action against the ACLU, the AFL-CIO, Common Cause, or Everytown for Gun Safety? READ MORE

Arkansas Attorney General Leslie Rutledge: Guns, the NRA and the Second Amendment are Under Assault from the Left
NBC News
August 21, 2020

Arkansas Attorney General Leslie Rutledge issued a commentary condemning the lawsuit filed by New York Attorney General Letitia James against the NRA. 
 

Rutledge writes, “Just three months before a presidential election, New York Attorney General Letitia James has filed suit against the NRA and several members of its leadership, seeking to have the gun rights organization dissolved. This lawsuit, filed in New York state court, is the apex of a longstanding feud between the NRA and the Democratic state attorney general. James attacked the NRA while she was a candidate for attorney general, calling it a 'terrorist organization' and a 'criminal enterprise.'”

 

She continues, “…like any good defender of freedom, the NRA is fighting back. The same day New York filed its state suit, the NRA filed its own lawsuit in federal court, pointing to then-candidate James’ campaign promise to 'take on the NRA' if elected. The NRA claims that James’ lawsuit is nothing more than a politically motivated stunt to deliver on that promise — not a response to any real fraud.” READ MORE

Editorial: Letitia James’ political pot-shots at the NRA
New York Post
August 10, 2020

Every charitable organization in the United States should be alarmed about New York State Attorney General Letitia James’s legal action to dissolve the National Rifle Association—including groups that oppose gun rights and would repeal the Second Amendment, as well as those whose missions have nothing to do with guns.

That concern has nothing to do with whether the charges James has levied against the NRA leadership are true. If NRA president Wayne LaPierre has misappropriated organization funds for personal use, a legal penalty may well be deserved, and he should be fired. But the penalty proposed by James—dissolution of the NRA—is alarming. A single state government would be acting not only against alleged misappropriation of funds but also an entire political constituency. READ MORE

An Affront to Civil Society
City Journal
August 10, 2020

Every charitable organization in the United States should be alarmed about New York State Attorney General Letitia James’s legal action to dissolve the National Rifle Association—including groups that oppose gun rights and would repeal the Second Amendment, as well as those whose missions have nothing to do with guns.

That concern has nothing to do with whether the charges James has levied against the NRA leadership are true. If NRA president Wayne LaPierre has misappropriated organization funds for personal use, a legal penalty may well be deserved, and he should be fired. But the penalty proposed by James—dissolution of the NRA—is alarming. A single state government would be acting not only against alleged misappropriation of funds but also an entire political constituency. READ MORE

Editorial: NY Tries To ‘Dissolve’ The NRA: Far Left’s War Against The Constitution Never Ends
Issues & Insights
August 7, 2020
Whenever the far left loses a debate, it doesn’t sharpen its arguments or seek compromise. Instead, it criminalizes those with whom it disagrees. That’s happening now in New York, where the attorney general is making a politicized attack on the National Rifle Association and the U.S. Constitution. READ MORE
Turley: The Tragic Irony of the New York State Lawsuit Against the NRA
The Hill, Opinion
August 8, 2020

It is a good thing that Ambrose Burnside is not alive to see this. New York Attorney General Letitia James has filed a 169-page complaint seeking, among other things, the dissolution of the National Rifle Association. For the hapless Burnside, it is one final indignity.

Widely ridiculed as an unimaginative Union commander during the Civil War, Burnside has only two lasting legacies. First, his facial hair was so prominent that others started to sport “Burnsides” (or, as they were later known, sideburns). Second, he was the NRA’s first president in 1871. Now, James wants to leave him literally with just his whiskers. READ MORE

Opinion: New York’s Attorney General Shouldn’t Dismantle the NRA
Bloomberg Opinion
August 6, 2020

The attorney general of New York has sued to seek the dissolution of the National Rifle Association, alleging fraud and abuse in the way the NRA’s chief executive and other officials ran the operation. Given that the NRA has played such a powerfully destructive role in U.S. politics, fighting against gun regulations that demonstrably save lives, it’s tempting to react with applause.
 

Yet even liberals who oppose the NRA’s mission should take a deep breath and ask: Do we really want an elected attorney general to try to destroy a prominent nongovernmental organization that is arrayed on the other side of the political spectrum from her? What if this were Alabama and the organization were the NAACP? Or Tennessee and the ACLU? READ MORE

NRA's LaPierre Responds to NY Lawsuit: 'Bring It On'
The Hill
August 6, 2020

The National Rifle Association (NRA) CEO Wayne LaPierre said the gun rights group is ready for the fight following the announcement of a lawsuit from the New York attorney general seeking to dissolve it.
 

In his first statement on the lawsuit on Thursday, LaPierre called New York Attorney General Letitia James’s (D) actions “an affront to democracy and freedom.” READ MORE

Editorial: The NRA's Fight in New York Is For All Americans
The New York Sun
August 6, 2020
The thing to keep in mind during the legal war launched today between New York State and the National Rifle Association is that the Second Amendment does not exist in New York City and state. It has been blocked at every level by state and local authorities. In New York, there is no right to — in the plain language of the Constitution — keep and bear arms. The right has been denied as a matter of policy for decades. READ MORE
NRA Seeks to Renew Objections to Former Ad Agency's Production of Documents, Citing Privilege
New York Law Journal
May 18, 2020

Attorneys representing the National Rifle Association are once again seeking to stay the production of documents by its former advertising agency to the New York Attorney General’s Office, a process that the gun rights advocacy group argues will violate its right to attorney-client privilege. READ MORE
Civ Pro Professor Arthur Miller Says NRA Has Right to Review Ad Agency's Response to Subpoena
New York Law Journal
November 15, 2019

Law professor and author Arthur Miller, appearing as an expert in civil procedure Thursday, agreed with the National Rifle Association’s argument that the New York Attorney General’s Office cannot prevent the gun-rights group from reviewing potentially privileged material in the possession of its former advertising agency Ackerman McQueen, which has received a state subpoena.


The subpoena is related to the Attorney General’s Office’s ongoing investigation into the NRA and its financial affairs, which was publicly confirmed in April. READ MORE

National Rifle Association, New York Attorney General Square Off In Heated Courtroom Battle
Newsweek
October 31, 2019

The New York State Attorney General's Office and the National Rifle Association squared off in state court Thursday morning, as the two quarreled over whether the NRA had a right to review documents related to the attorney general's investigation into its tax-exempt status.

New York County Supreme Court Justice Melissa A. Crane held off announcing a final decision at the end of the hearing, though the fractious nature of the disagreement and the potential consequences of Attorney General Letitia James's probe loomed large over Thursday's arguments. READ MORE

NRA Spars With N.Y. AG Over Subpoena of Its Former Ad Agency
Bloomberg
October 31, 2019
The National Rifle Association and the New York attorney general’s office squared off in a Manhattan court over whether the gun-rights organization has the power to prevent state investigators from seeing documents subpoenaed from its former advertising agency. READ MORE
NRA Says It Doesn't Have To Comply With New York AG If It Doesn't Think It Is Getting In Her Way
Newsweek
October 2, 2019
New York Attorney General Letitia James has sued the National Rifle Association and its former public relations firm, Ackerman McQueen, over what she alleges is a pattern of obstruction and interference from the nation's largest gun-rights group as part of her office's ongoing investigation into its tax-exempt status. READ MORE
New York Sues NRA's Former Ad Agency Over Subpoena
The Hill
October 1, 2019
New York Attorney General Letitia James on Monday sued the National Rifle Association's (NRA) former advertising agency to enforce a subpoena related to the gun group's nonprofit status. READ MORE
N.Y. Attorney General Launches Probe of NRA Finances
New York Daily News
April 27, 2019

Charges that National Rifle Association officials have mismanaged the gun-rights group’s money have prompted a probe by New York Attorney General Letitia James.

The attorney general “has launched an investigation related to the National Rifle Association (NRA),” spokeswoman Kelly Donnelly said Saturday in an email. “As part of this investigation, the Attorney General has issued subpoenas.” READ MORE