Article by Bryan Howard
August 26, 2018
Andrew Cuomo Governor of New York has been on a mission to bankrupt the NRA. New York’s has been attempting to compel banks and insurance companies to remove the NRA as a customer. However, ACLU is arguing this is a violation of the NRA’s First Amendment rights.
“Although public officials are free to express their opinions and may condemn viewpoints or groups they view as inimical to public welfare, they cannot abuse their regulatory authority to retaliate against disfavored advocacy organizations and to impose burdens on those organizations’ ability to conduct lawful business,” according to the ACLU.
The ACLU is not arguing for gun stances but is claiming a politician should not be using their power to “Punish political enemies”.
Andrew Cuomo and the gun grabbing activists have been pushing this agenda in New York for the last year. Recently the NRA has claimed this activism by New York politicians may bankrupt their organization.
Maria Vullo, head of the state’s Department of Financial Services, next sent letters letters to all banks, financial institutions, and insurers licensed to do business in New York. In the letters, he warned companies to stop doing business with pro-Second Amendment groups that “promote guns and lead to senseless violence.” Instead, he urged the organizations to support “the voices of the passionate, courageous, and articulate young people” who want more firearms restrictions.
Vullo advised companies that received the letter to “review any relationships they have with the NRA or similar gun promotion organizations, and to take prompt actions to managing these risks and promote public health and safety.”
New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo supported the threat in a tweet the next day: “The NRA is an extremist organization. I urge companies in New York State to revisit any ties they have to the NRA and consider their reputations, and responsibility to the public.’”
Following the communications, multiple banks “withdrew bids to provide basic depository services” for the NRA, the report stated. NRA claimed the pressure of removing all insurances was going to shut down NRA TV also, who has superstar host Dana Loesch.
“If Cuomo can do this to the NRA, then conservative governors could have their financial regulators threaten banks and financial institutions that do business with any other group whose political views the governor opposes,” David Cole, the ACLU legal director, wrote in a blog post. “The First Amendment bars state officials from using their regulatory power to penalize groups merely because they promote disapproved ideas.”
New York Politicians are sticking strong on their stance that it is legal to target the NRA for political reasons.
A brief filed August 3 by New York Attorney General Barbara Underwood stated the letters “do not constitute unconstitutional threats as a matter of law.”
It also stated: “The Guidance Letters encouraged insurers and financial institutions to evaluate and manage risks that might arise from their dealings with gun promotion organizations in the face of the polarized political debate. Both the Guidance Letters and the Press Releases are classic government speech—they are expressing the government’s position in the public gun control debate, which is entirely permissible.”
The NRA filed a supplemental brief that stated:
“The state could enact onerous building regulations, then make it known that such regulations will be enforced only against landlords that rent space to the NAACP or Black Lives Matter. Or, the state could begin charging a sales tax for internet purchases, but only enforce the tax against merchants who stock books by a dissident author. The Court should not indulge this end-run around equal protection.”
New York set a date for a hearing to dismiss the NRA lawsuit on September 10th.