Amid allegations of exorbitant, improper spending by its CEO and a failed attempt to file for bankruptcy, the National Rifle Association (NRA) is on the search for a new location for its headquarters, and Wyoming Governor Mark Gordon, along with Secretary of State Ed Buchanan have sent the Virginia-based, purported non-profit organization a letter, inviting them to relocate to Wyoming.
According to a press release from the Governor’s office, the letter highlights Wyoming’s “business-friendly tax environment, Wyoming’s eager workforce, and the population’s strong support for Second Amendment rights.”
The NRA was founded in 1871 by William Conant Church and George Wood Wingate. It is a 501(c)(4) non-profit organization that, according to a self-report, boasts more than 5 million members. It relies on donations, magazine subscriptions and, according to the Associated Press, has reported total assets of about $203 million.
On August 6, 2020 New York Attorney General Letitia James filed a civil lawsuit against the NRA. The suit alleged fraud and financial misconduct, as well as misuse of charitable funds by various executives, including the NRA CEO and Executive Vice President Wayne LaPierre.
Though the NRA is based and was founded in Virginia, it was incorporated in New York, which is why James was able to file suit.
VOX reports that the lawsuit accused LaPierre of “spending hundreds of thousands of dollars on private charter planes for himself and his extended family members, accepting lavish gifts from NRA vendors, and spending $1.2 million in NRA funds on ‘personal expenses,’ the list of which includes his golf club memberships.”
Shortly after this lawsuit was filed, the NRA announced in a press release that it would be filing for Chapter 11 bankruptcy in the U.S. Bankruptcy Court for the Norther District of Texas, in Dallas.
During the bankruptcy hearing, LaPierre acknowledged that the full board and the general counsel of the NRA were not informed in advance of the plans to file for bankruptcy. He also admitted that he did not disclose free trips on a yacht that he accepted from David McKenzie, a California-based film producer who, according to The Washington Post, “is linked to firms that the attorney general’s office has alleged received tens of millions of dollars in contracts over the years from the NRA.”
On May 11 of this year, Judge Harlin Hale of the Federal Bankruptcy Court dismissed the bankruptcy petition, stating that it “was not filed in good faith.” Hale stated that if the NRA tried to file a new bankruptcy case, his court would immediately offer concerns about “disclosure, transparency, secrecy, conflicts of interest of litigation counsel,” and more.
CNN reported the ruling, including a written statement from Judge Hale, in which he stated that, “The Court finds there is cause to dismiss this bankruptcy case as not having been filed in good faith both because it was filed to gain an unfair litigation advantage and because it was filed to avoid a state regulatory scheme.”
A copy of the court’s ruling can be found here.
So now, the NRA is hoping to find a new location for its headquarters, with Texas being the front-runner. But, as a self-professed “lifetime member of the NRA” who “believes the right to bear arms is fundamental,” Governor Gordon has drafted a letter, inviting the NRA to relocate to Wyoming.
“Wyoming citizens value our state’s customs, culture and pro-second amendment laws,” Governor Gordon said. “We will always protect personal freedoms, and those of businesses involved in the firearms industry. All of this, plus our great hunting and other outdoor opportunities, make Wyoming an ideal place for the National Rifle Association to consider home.”
The letter states that Wyoming has “no corporate tax, no personal income tax, no franchise tax, and no gross receipts tax, which is why Wyoming is ranked first by the Tax Foundation in their 2021 State of Business Climate Index.”
The letter continues, stating that “We have an abundance of open space, an eager and skilled workforce and a population that is among the strongest, if not the strongest, in terms of support for the Second Amendment.”
A full copy of the letter can be read here.