• N.R.A. Suit Claims Cuomo’s ‘Blacklisting’ Has Cost It Millions of Dolla

    From Gene Poole@21:1/5 to All on Wed Jul 31 09:37:41 2019
    XPost: alt.freespeech, alt.survival, alt.politics.usa.constitution
    XPost: soc.retirement

    “If I could have put the N.R.A. out of business, I would have
    done it 20 years ago,” Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo of New York said of
    the National Rifle Association. The two sides are locked in a
    legal battle in federal court.CreditCreditChang W. Lee/The New
    York Times

    The long-running battle between Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo of New York
    and the National Rifle Association, which says it has lost
    millions of dollars because of state officials’ political
    agenda, entered another round of legal wrangling and public
    posturing this week.

    Mr. Cuomo announced on Friday that the state was moving to
    dismiss a lawsuit the N.R.A. filed in federal court in May,
    which he called “frivolous.” The lawsuit, which accused state
    officials of “blacklisting” the gun rights organization, was
    amended with sharper language last month.

    At issue is whether New York regulators violated the
    constitutional rights of the N.R.A. by preventing financial
    institutions and insurers in the state from doing business with
    the organization.

    In the lawsuit, the N.R.A. accused Mr. Cuomo, as well as the New
    York State Department of Financial Services and its
    superintendent, Maria T. Vullo, of discrimination that violated
    the organization’s right to free speech.

    Last month’s amended complaint included more details about how
    state regulators have squeezed the organization.

    The N.R.A. said officials had discouraged banks and insurers,
    including Lockton Companies and Chubb Group Holdings, from
    working with it.

    If insurers remain wary, the organization said, it could be
    forced to shut down some of its programs, such as its online
    video channel, NRATV.

    “Defendants’ conduct indeed shocks the conscience,” the
    complaint said.

    Mr. Cuomo’s response on Friday was terse: “If I could have put
    the N.R.A. out of business, I would have done it 20 years ago.”

    While the complaint said the N.R.A. had “suffered tens of
    millions of dollars in damages” because of New York State
    officials, it did not make specific claims about the
    organization’s current financial standing.

    Much of the argument revolves around Carry Guard, an insurance
    program started by the N.R.A. last year that was meant to cover
    legal fees for people who fired a weapon in self-defense.

    New York financial regulators began investigating the program in
    October. That investigation was continuing when a gunman killed
    17 people at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland,
    Fla., in February.

    Survivors of the shooting have led protests in support of
    stricter gun control. Politicians have voiced their support,
    including Mr. Cuomo, who stretched out on a sidewalk to
    participate in a “die-in” with students in Lower Manhattan in
    March. Several businesses including car rental services,
    airlines, technology companies and insurers announced that they
    were cutting ties with the N.R.A.

    Three months after the Parkland shooting, the Department of
    Financial Services announced that Lockton and an affiliate would
    pay a fine of $7 million while Chubb and a subsidiary would pay
    $1.3 million for underwriting Carry Guard.

    According to the department, the program “unlawfully provided
    liability insurance to gun owners for acts of intentional

    Days later, the N.R.A. filed its initial complaint, arguing that
    the state’s aims went far beyond its opposition to Carry Guard.
    “From the outset, it was clear that the investigation was meant
    to advance Cuomo’s political agenda by stifling the N.R.A.’s
    speech and retaliating against the N.R.A. based on its viewpoint
    on gun control issues,” it said, claiming that its
    constitutional rights had been violated through conspiracy and
    implicit censorship.

    Last month’s amendments added two more accusations: that state
    officials had interfered with potential revenue and that they
    had violated the N.R.A.’s freedom of association.

    “Defendants seek to silence one of America’s oldest
    constitutional rights advocates,” it said. “If their abuses are
    not enjoined, they will soon, substantially, succeed.”

    In announcing the filing to dismiss the suit, Mr. Cuomo said
    that “while the N.R.A. tries to play the victim, New York stands
    with the real victims — the thousands of people whose lives are
    cut short by gun violence every year.”

    The N.R.A. is a staunch, sometimes incendiary defender of the
    Second Amendment with a long record of hobbling regulatory
    efforts, grading legislators on their voting histories and
    running ads suggesting that the rights of gun owners are forever
    under siege.

    During the 2016 presidential election cycle, the N.R.A. spent
    $20 million to persuade voters to reject Hillary Clinton and
    another $11 million in support of Donald J. Trump. Public
    records from that year showed that the organization’s expenses
    exceeded revenues by about $46 million.

    Donations to the organization spiked after the Parkland
    shooting, according to records from the Federal Election

    William Brewer, a partner at Brewer, Attorneys & Counselors who
    is lead counsel in the organization’s lawsuit against the New
    York officials, said on Saturday that the N.R.A. is growing and
    “in good financial standing.”

    “However, the conduct of defendants, from the home state of the
    N.R.A., now threaten the financial growth and overall trajectory
    of the organization,” he said.

    On Saturday afternoon, Mr. Cuomo doubled down in his opposition
    to Carry Guard, announcing a “national effort urging states
    across the country to follow New York’s lead and outlaw” the
    insurance program.

    “At a time when Washington has completely abdicated its
    responsibility to protect the American people, states must
    lead,” he said in a statement.


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