Former top NRA leader reports on organization’s excesses and extremes
The powerful gun lobby, the National Rifle Association of America, has filed for bankruptcy in the Northern District of Texas, where it will reincorporate as a nonprofit, leaving New York State, where it was founded in 1871.
In a bizarre statement Friday, the NRA, which is headquartered in Fairfax, Va., Said the plan “is to use bankruptcy court protection.” And he explained that the move would facilitate his exit from a “corrupt political and regulatory environment in New York.” The move will enable long-term, sustainable growth and ensure the continued success of the NRA as the country’s leading advocate for constitutional freedom – safe from New York’s toxic political environment.
Former top NRA leader reports on organization’s excesses and extremes
Basically, the Association is “leaving New York City and organizing its legal and regulatory affairs into an efficient forum. The move comes at a time when the NRA is in its best financial position in years, ”the group said.
The news of the bankruptcy follows leadership upheavals, scandals and allegations of financial mismanagement at the top, which sparked a lawsuit last summer by New York Attorney General Letitia James. The AG accused the leadership of the NRA – headed by CEO Wayne LaPierre – of tax evasion and embezzlement of association funds for personal gain. This transaction resulted in losses of $ 63 million over three years, she said.
Controversy LaPierre said, “The only thing that stops a bad guy with a gun is a good guy with a gun.” The group has around five million members.
NRATV, the association’s online video channel operated from 2016 to 2019.
An NRA cross-trial accused James of interfering with the group’s First Amendment rights and said his trial was “without any evidence.”
James hit back on Friday, saying: “The financial status claimed by the NRA has finally reached its moral status: bankrupt.” She said the group won’t shy away from liability or her office with the move.
The NRA has said Marschall Smith, a former top executive of the 3M company, will serve as director of restructuring.
The group has formed a committee to study opportunities to relocate segments of its business activities to Texas or other states. Until then, general NRA business operations will remain at Fairfax.
Here is the NRA statement:
Fairfax, VA – The National Rifle Association of America (“NRA”) today announced it will restructure the Association as a Texas nonprofit out of what it sees as a political environment and corrupt regulatory in New York. This move will enable long-term, sustainable growth and ensure the continued success of the NRA as the country’s leading advocate of constitutional freedom – safe from New York’s toxic political environment.
The NRA’s plan to use bankruptcy court protection causes the Association to abandon New York and organize its legal and regulatory matters into an effective forum. The move comes at a time when the NRA has been in its best financial position in years.
The NRA will continue to move the business forward – by confronting anti-Second Amendment activities, promoting gun safety and training, and advancing public programs across the United States. There will be no immediate change in the operations or workforce of the NRA.
The Association will seek court approval to reincorporate the Association in the state of Texas – home to more than 400,000 NRA members and the site of the 2021 NRA annual meeting in Houston.
“This strategic plan represents a path to opportunity, growth and progress,” said Wayne LaPierre, CEO and Executive Vice President of the NRA. “Obviously, an important part of this plan is to ’empty New York’. The NRA continues to reincorporate into a state that values the contributions of the NRA, celebrates our law-abiding members, and will join us as a partner in defending constitutional freedom. It is a moment of transformation in the history of the NRA. “
The restructuring plan aims to rationalize costs and expenses, to deal with pending litigation in a coordinated and structured manner and to realize numerous financial and strategic advantages.
The path to follow
The NRA will follow the restructuring process quickly. Its daily operations, training programs, and Second Amendment advocacy will continue as usual.
By leaving New York, where the NRA has been incorporated for about 150 years, the NRA abandons a state where elected officials have militarized the legal and regulatory powers they exercise to penalize the Association and its members for purely political ends.
In the summer of 2018, New York attorney general candidate Letitia James vowed that, if elected, she would use the powers of her office to investigate the “legitimacy” of the NRA.
Without any evidence to support this claim, she called the Association a “terrorist organization” and a “criminal enterprise”. As promised, she opened an “investigation” after being elected to the NYAG office and, as expected, filed a lawsuit to dissolve the NRA just before the November 2020 national election.
The NRA filed a lawsuit in August 2020 against the NYAG similar to its lawsuit against New York Governor Andrew Cuomo and the New York State Department of Financial Services, filed in 2018. The NRA is prosecuting the defendants for attempting to “blacklist” the organization and its funding partners in violation of their First Amendment rights. The NRA will pursue these legal actions.
“As part of this plan, the Association is wisely seeking to protect itself from New York officials who it believes have unlawfully used their powers against the NRA and its members,” said William A. Brewer III, lawyer for the NRA. NRA in these cases. “The NRA will continue to fight to protect the interests of its members in New York City – and in all forums where the NRA is illegally named for its Second Amendment advocacy.”
Regarding its corporate headquarters, the NRA has formed a committee to study the possibilities of relocating segments of its business activities to Texas or other states. The Association will analyze whether the relocation of its headquarters, now located in Fairfax, Virginia, is in the best interests of its members. In the meantime, the general business operations of the NRA will remain at Fairfax.
To facilitate its strategic plan and restructuring, the NRA and one of its subsidiaries filed voluntary Chapter 11 petitions in the United States bankruptcy court for the North District of Texas, Division of Dallas. Chapter 11 procedures are commonly used by businesses, nonprofits, and organizations of all kinds to streamline legal and financial affairs.
The NRA also announced that Marschall Smith will take on the post of head of restructuring. Former Senior Vice President and General Counsel of 3M, Smith has over 35 years of legal and business experience with a focus on compliance, corporate finance and corporate governance.
“I am honored to join the oldest and largest civil rights organization in the country during this important time,” says Smith. “Our goal is to complete the restructuring process efficiently and quickly, even as the leaders of the RNA approach 2021 with renewed energy and an expanding national platform. This plan has no impact on the NRA’s most important goal: to serve its members and protect the Second Amendment. “
The NRA will come up with a plan for full payment of all valid claims. The Association expects to honor its commitments to employees, suppliers, members and other community stakeholders.
“The plan allows us to protect the NRA and move forward with a renewed focus on Second Amendment advocacy,” said NRA President Carolyn Meadows. “We will continue to honor the trust placed in us by employees, members and other stakeholders – following a plan that allows us to become the strongest NRA ever.