As the iconic American gun maker Colt Defense struggled to stay in business after losing a key contract to supply M4 rifles to the U.S. Army, the company was paying a range of political allies, including the National Rifle Association, the consulting firm set up by retired Army General Stanley McChrystal, and other trade groups and lobbying outfits.
On Sunday, Colt announced its plan to file for chapter 11 bankruptcy protection. Colt’s contractors were revealed in a filing submitted to bankruptcy court on Monday.
The creditor matrix document filed by Colt doesn’t list amounts, but shows that the firm owed money to the National Rifle Association along with the NRA’s affiliated foundation and its “Life of Duty” outreach program to law enforcement. In recent election cycles, the NRA has used its nonprofit entity, backed with money from corporate partners and dues-paying members, to run aggressive campaign advertisements, largely to elect Republicans to Congress.
Colt registered some of its lobbyists with the appropriate authorities, informing the Secretary of the Senate that it had retained lobbyists Roger Smith and Jeffery Green to work on export licensing and defense-related issues in Congress.
But the filing reveals that Colt made payments to other Beltway political groups — relationships that were previously unknown to the public.
The filing shows Colt has made payments to the McChrystal Group, a consulting firm set up by Stanley McChrystal, the retired general who was relieved of his command of military operations in Afghanistan following a damaging story in Rolling Stone magazine. Though not registered as a lobbying firm, the McChrystal Group has previously reached out to military officials on behalf of corporate clients seeking to influence policy decisions.
According to the bankruptcy document, Colt owed money to a number of other lobby-related trade groups, including the Aerospace Industries Association and the National Defense Industrial Association, both of which represent defense contractors; the National Shooting Sports Foundation, which represents gun companies; and the Congressional Sportsman’s Alliance, a pro-hunting organization.
Colt also owed money to various law enforcement and political nonprofits, including the National U.S.-Arab Chamber of Commerce and the National Sheriffs’ Association.
According to the Wall Street Journal, an investment firm, Sciens Capital Management, has proposed to buy “all of Colt’s assets and assume secured liabilities and all liabilities related to existing agreements with employees, customers, vendors, and trade creditors.”
(This post is from our blog: Unofficial Sources.)
Photo: A single action .44 caliber Frontier Colt revolver. (Three Lions/Getty)