NRA Sues New York for Punishing Financial Institutions Doing Business With Group

From: Gene Poole ([email protected])

The National Rifle Association on Friday sued the state of New
York for fining and coercing financial institutions until they
severed their connections to the gun-rights group.

Governor Andrew Cuomo and the Department of Financial Services,
the state financial regulatory agency, engaged in a
“blacklisting campaign” against banks and insurance companies
who did business with the NRA, infringing upon the group’s
constitutional right to “speak freely about gun-related issues
and defend the Second Amendment,” the lawsuit alleges.

The NRA presented as evidence an April letter from Maria Vullo,
the DFS’s superintendent, warning banks under her purview about
the “reputational risk” of doing business with gun-rights
groups. The state also pressured the companies behind the
scenes, the group claims.

“Directed by Governor Andrew Cuomo, this campaign involves
selective prosecution, backroom exhortations, and public threats
with a singular goal—to deprive the NRA and its constituents of
their First Amendment right to speak freely about gun-related
issues and defend the Second Amendment,” the complaint states.

“Simply put, Defendants made it clear to banks and insurers that
it is bad business in New York to do business with the NRA.”

Insurance companies Lockton and Chubb cut the NRA loose after
New York imposed $7 million and $1.3 million fines on them,
respectively, for insuring the NRA’s Carry Guard program, the
NRA says.

The DFS said it fined Chubb for “unlawfully providing liability
insurance to gun owners for acts of intentional wrongdoing.”

The “viewpoint-based discrimination campaign” convinced the
financial institutions to accept deals with the regulatory
agency that require them to terminate business with the NRA in
New York and elsewhere, the NRA said, costing the gun-rights
group tens of millions of dollars.

“The orders prohibit lawful commercial speech for no reason
other than that it carries the NRA brand,” the suit says.

The fines were the “culmination of years of political activism
by Cuomo against the NRA and gun rights organizations,” one
lawyer for the gun-rights group stated.

Governor Cuomo called the suit “frivolous,” and “a futile and
desperate attempt to advance its dangerous agenda to sell more

The lawsuit was filed in the U.S. District Court for the
Northern District of New York.;

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