Trump claims NRA ‘under siege’ by New York investigation
ALBANY, N.Y. — The National Rifle Association is “under siege,” President Trump said Monday in response to New York state’s decision to investigate the organization’s status as a tax-exempt nonprofit.
The Republican president accused state Attorney General Letitia James and her fellow Democrat, Gov. Andrew Cuomo, of breaking the law — though he did not specify which law — with the investigation into the gun-rights organization.
“The NRA is under siege by Cuomo and the New York State A.G., who are illegally using the State’s legal apparatus to take down and destroy this very important organization, & others,” Trump tweeted.
….People are fleeing New York State because of high taxes and yes, even oppression of sorts. They didn’t even put up a fight against SALT – could have won. So much litigation. The NRA should leave and fight from the outside of this very difficult to deal with (unfair) State!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) April 29, 2019
In a statement responding to Trump’s tweet, James’ office said she is focused “on enforcing the rule of law.”
— The Hill (@thehill) April 29, 2019
“In any case we pursue, we will follow the facts wherever they may lead,” her office wrote. “We wish the President would share our respect for the law.”
James’ office offered few details about the probe when it was announced Saturday, saying only that an investigation into the NRA had been launched and that subpoenas had been issued.
But last year she had vowed to investigate whether the organization deserves its tax-exempt nonprofit status. And an NRA lawyer said Saturday that it would cooperate “with any inquiry into its finances.”
Cuomo, meanwhile, tweeted that Trump has “done nothing but tweet” about gun violence.
“Unlike you, NY is not afraid to stand up to the NRA,” he said. “As for the NRA, we’ll remember them in our thoughts and prayers,” appearing to mock an oft-cited reaction to mass shootings.
The state attorney general has oversight over nonprofit groups registered with the state and may seek to fine those who defraud donors, misuse charitable funds or violate the rules governing political activities by nonprofits. The NRA is based in Virginia but has an office in New York.
What could the New York Attorney General do if she found wrongdoing in the NRA?
She could seek to remove the board, she could force it to pay back funds improperly obtained
In an extreme case she could even force them to dissolve or cease operations
— Tim Mak (@timkmak) April 29, 2019
James’ office has also opened a civil investigation into allegations by former Trump attorney Michael Cohen that Trump exaggerated his wealth to obtain loans.
Her office is also overseeing a lawsuit alleging Trump used his charitable foundation for campaign purposes. The Trump Foundation reached a deal in December to fold and distribute about $1.7 million in remaining funds. James is seeking millions of dollars in additional restitution, as well as an order banning Trump and his three oldest children from running any New York charities for 10 years.