The National Rifle Association has remained a primary focus in some of the country’s most heated debates regarding weapons rights and has now filed Chapter 11 bankruptcy.
According to USA Today, the powerful gun lobby filed in Texas following New York attorney general Letitia James’ lawsuit seeking to dissolve the association. The AG alleges the group diverted millions in charitable giving, which was personally used by senior leaders.
Chapter 11 bankruptcy allows companies or organizations to reorganize operations, drop debt, suspend lawsuits, and emerge as a sustainable enterprise. But it can also result in dissolution or liquidation.
The organization actually admitted it has no financial problems at all, saying it is in its “strongest financial condition in years.” It filed for bankruptcy for protection reasons, which is to escape “a corrupt political and regulatory environment in New York,” the news outlet reported.
James accused NRA leaders of wasteful and unchecked spending, which led the organization to go from a $27.8 million surplus six years ago to a $36.3 million net deficit in 2018.
The group also said it plans on using the bankruptcy court to “streamline costs and expenses” and “proceed with pending litigation in a coordinated and structured manner” in pursuit of “many financial and strategic advantages.”
“The NRA’s influence has been so powerful that the organization went unchecked for decades while top executives funneled millions into their own pockets,” James said. In her lawsuit, James says the organization allowed executives to use its funds for personal travel spending, including private jets and swanky meals.
NRA CEO Wayne LaPierre is named in the lawsuit for some of these claims but denies doing any wrongdoing.
The NRA also plans to shift its nonprofit registration from New York to the state of Texas to “enable long-term, sustainable growth and ensure the NRA’s continued success as the nation’s leading advocate for constitutional freedom.”
“This strategic plan represents a pathway to opportunity, growth, and progress,” LaPierre said in a statement. “Obviously, an important part of this plan is ‘dumping New York.’ The NRA is pursuing reincorporating in a state that values the contributions of the NRA, celebrates our law-abiding members, and will join us as a partner in upholding constitutional freedom. This is a transformational moment in the history of the NRA.”
James issued a response to the NRA plans late Friday. “While we review this filing, we will not allow the NRA to use this or any other tactic to evade accountability and my office’s oversight,” James said, making note of the fact that the gun rights group had filed for bankruptcy as part of the move.
“The NRA’s claimed financial status has finally met its moral status: bankrupt,” she said.