The National Rifle Association rolled the dice by filing for chapter 11 protection earlier this year, gambling that it could use the power of U.S. bankruptcy law to consolidate litigation and combat allegations of fraud and mismanagement brought by the New York attorney general.
The gun-rights group is about to find out how well that bet is playing out. A federal bankruptcy judge in Dallas has scheduled six days of virtual hearings starting Monday that are likely to determine the course of the bankruptcy and, potentially, of the NRA itself.
Among those whose fates are on the line is Wayne LaPierre, the chief executive who has led the not-for-profit group for three decades and become the public face of one of America’s most powerful advocacy organizations.
Mr. LaPierre and other top NRA officials are poised to testify in public for the first time on allegations of spending abuses at the group. New York’s attorney general is expected to call other witnesses, possibly including Mr. LaPierre’s longtime travel consultant, who arranged NRA-funded private jet flights for him and his relatives, and sat for a deposition last week.
“The legal issues here have nothing to do with the Second Amendment—the NRA could be selling shoes,” Adam Levitin, a bankruptcy-law professor at Georgetown University, noted. “This is about whether a major charitable organization has been looted by its managers.”