The organization has been beset by complaints over lavish spending and internal battles as it has battled a lawsuit by New York Attorney General Letitia James to dissolve the New York-based organization.
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The group plans to leave New York State, where it was founded in 1871, and reincorporate as a Texas nonprofit in a move it is calling "Project Freedom", according to a statement published Friday.
The group said it would continue to defend its members' constitutional rights under the Second Amendment, which guarantees the right to keep and bear arms.
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An attendee examines various guns at a booth during the National Rifle Association convention in Dallas, on May 4, 2018. The filing also stated that the NRA became aware of a "significant diversion" of its assets in 2019 and previous years, and that LaPierre paid back almost $300,000 plus interest in funds for the expense.
In an interview, NRA board member Charles Cotton made clear that the bankruptcy filing was motivated by litigation and regulatory scrutiny in what he called "corrupt New York" - not financial concerns. Amid its struggles to stay afloat, it was even suggested that Donald Trump, Jr., take over for NRA CEO and Executive Vice President Wayne LaPierre. "While we review this filing, we will not allow the NRA to use this or any other tactic to avoid accountability and my office's oversight".
The move comes as the gun group is contesting multiple lawsuits and facing off with attorneys general in New York State and Washington, D.C., who allege violations of nonprofit law. In November, the NRA agreed to pay $2.5 million and accept a five-year ban on marketing insurance in the state.
Usually, groups in strong financial condition don't have to seek the protection of the bankruptcy court, but no one expects full transparency from an organization with ties to Russian-funneled donations, spies, and other shady dealings that go all the way to the White House. In the letter, LaPierre cast the bankruptcy filing as a way to "streamline legal and financial affairs".
The NRA's largest creditor, owed $1.2 million, is the organization's former advertising agency, Ackerman McQueen.