(Reuters) – The National Rifle Association filed for bankruptcy on Friday, a sudden development that could help the gun rights group avoid a lawsuit by the New York Attorney General.
The NRA filed for Chapter 11 protection in federal bankruptcy court in Dallas, and said it planned to reincarnate in Texas to avoid a “corrupt political and regulatory environment” where it is now incorporated.
“Texas values the NRA’s contributions, celebrates our law abiding members, and stands with us as a partner in maintaining constitutional freedom,” Chief Executive Wayne LaPierre said in a letter to members said. “We want protection from New York officials who have illegally abused and used weapons against the NRA and its members.”
The NRA was sued in August by New York Attorney General Letitia James, who accused LaPierre and other senior leaders of self-dealing and mismanagement, and said the group’s activities governed nonprofits. Violated laws.
James said NRA officials funded millions of dollars at a cost of $ 64 million over three years to fund luxury lifestyles, including funds and private jets, and to buy the silence and loyalty of former employees.
James said in a statement on Friday, “The NRA’s claimed financial position has finally gone to its moral position: bankruptcy.” “We will not allow the NRA to use this or any other strategy to avoid accountability and monitoring of my office.”
In its own statement, the NRA made no immediate changes to its operations or workforce, saying it was not insolvent, adding that LaPierre said it was “financially strong as we have been for years.”
The group said it would continue to protect the constitutional rights of its members under the Second Amendment, which guarantees the right to own and bear arms.
Critics say that the NRA is a symbol of gun violence.
In his lawsuit, James stated that the NRA’s inclusion as a non-beneficiary in New York gave him the right to seek dissolution. The NRA filed a countershoot in federal court in Albany, New York, accusing him of violating his free speech rights because he disliked his politics.
The NRA accused James, a Democrat, of demanding a “corporate death penalty” in a partisan push to meet his goal.
Sixteen Republican Attorney Generals filed a brief supporting the NRA’s case.
Friday’s move could freeze New York lawsuits and sabotage James’s power to dissolve a revaluation group in Texas.
Reporting by Jan Wolfe and Jonathan Stampel; Editing by Rosalaba O’Brien and Jonathan Otis