Court Battles

NRA accuses New York attorney general of ‘weaponizing’ power in new lawsuit

The National Rifle Association (NRA) in a new lawsuit is accusing New York Attorney General Letitia James (D) of “weaponizing” her power against the group.

The NRA filed a counter lawsuit against James in the New York State Supreme Court on Tuesday accusing James of seeking to dissolve the group for political purposes. The counter complaint was first reported by Reuters.

“Even before assuming office, and without a shred of evidence that the NRA had done anything wrong, Attorney General James vowed to weaponize the supervisory powers of the NYAG to destroy one of the nation’s oldest, largest civil rights organizations,” the complaint reads.

“Her impetus was nakedly political: to weaken the NRA as a political force in advance of the 2020 elections,” the complaint says.

James sued in August 2020 to dissolve the gun rights group after an 18-month investigation found that the group and some of its officials diverted millions of dollars away from the group. James said at the time that the violations cost the NRA over $64 million in losses over three years.

Tuesday’s countersuit accused James of commencing a “long-promised investigation” with the purpose of “damaging the NRA politically, diverting its corporate resources, and contriving a pretext to dissolve the NRA.”

“James’s unconstitutional, retaliatory investigation found no evidence to support her audacious claims, yet she predictably concluded it by commencing this action and seeking a dissolution of the NRA,” the counter complaint states.

The counter complaint also rips James’s suit as a “blatant and malicious retaliation campaign against the NRA and its constituents based on her disagreement with the content of their speech.”

The group is seeking dismissal of James’s suit, accusing her of not opening similar investigations into other New York-based nonprofits.

William Brewer, counsel to the NRA, told The Hill in a statement that the group believes “the NYAG’s actions are retaliatory and reflect ‘selective use’ of regulatory oversight against the Association in violation of constitutional rights.” 

“The NRA will continue to confront the NYAG’s weaponization of power – to the benefit of the Association, its millions of members, and all who believe in constitutional freedom,” Brewer said.

In a statement to The Hill, James said “while we review this filing, we will not allow the NRA to use this or any other tactic to evade accountability and my office’s oversight.”

The countersuit is the latest in the legal battle against James. The group announced last month that it is filing for bankruptcy and is reincorporating in Texas.

Updated at 3:42 p.m.

Tags Letitia James Letitia James National Rifle Association National Rifle Association NRA

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