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NRA declares bankruptcy and plans to incorporate in Texas

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In this May 4, 2013, file photo, National Rifle Association members listen to speakers during the NRA's Annual Meetings and Exhibits in Houston, Texas.
In this May 4, 2013, file photo, National Rifle Association members listen to speakers during the NRA's Annual Meetings and Exhibits in Houston, Texas.   -   Copyright  Johnny Hanson/Houston Chronicle via AP
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The National Rifle Association announced Friday it has filed for bankruptcy protection.

The nation’s most politically influential gun-rights group said it will seek to incorporate in Texas instead of New York, where a state lawsuit is trying to put the organization out of business.

The announcement came months after New York Attorney General Letitia James sued the NRA, seeking its dissolution over claims that top executives illegally diverted tens of millions of dollars for lavish personal trips, no-show contracts for associates and other questionable expenditures.

The coronavirus pandemic has also upended the NRA, which last year laid off dozens of employees, cancelled its national convention and scuttled fundraising.

The NRA's bankruptcy filing listed between $100 million (€82 million) and $500 million (€413 million) in assets and between $100 million and $500 million in liabilities.

Still, the NRA claimed in announcing the move that the organization was “in its strongest financial condition in years.”

The group filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy in federal court in Dallas and said it planned to incorporate in Texas, where records show it formed a limited liability corporation, Sea Girt LLC, in November 2020.

Sea Girt LLC made a separate bankruptcy filing Friday, listing few assets and fewer than $100,000 (€82,796) in liabilities.

In its filing, the NRA said its longtime leader, Executive Vice President Wayne LaPierre, made the decision to file for bankruptcy protection in consultation with a committee of three NRA officials that formed in September to oversee its legal strategies.

The NRA board voted January 7 to clarify LaPierre's employment agreement, giving him the power to “reorganize or restructure the affairs” of the organization.

“The move will enable long-term, sustainable growth and ensure the NRA’s continued success as the nation’s leading advocate for constitutional freedom – free from the toxic political environment of New York,” the NRA said in a statement.

Texas Gov Greg Abbott, a Republican, quickly welcomed the news, tweeting: “Welcome to Texas — a state that safeguards the 2nd Amendment.”

The NRA said it has more than 400,000 members in Texas and plans to hold its annual convention in Houston later this year.