The National Rifle Association (NRA) is counter-suing the New York Attorney General accusing the lobbying organisation of widespread fraud.
NRA President Carolyn Meadows called New York state attorney Letitia James a political opportunist making a power grab as part of a political vendetta.
The NRA filed a federal lawsuit against Ms James in the Northern District of New York claiming the action restricts the corporation's freedom of speech. They are also seeking a judicial declaration that the NRA complied with state law, according to Politico
“You could have set your watch by it: the investigation was going to reach its crescendo as we move into the 2020 election cycle,” Ms Meadows said in a statement.
“It’s a transparent attempt to score political points and attack the leading voice in opposition to the leftist agenda. This has been a power grab by a political opportunist – a desperate move that is part of a rank political vendetta. Our members won’t be intimidated or bullied in their defence of political and constitutional freedom.”
Earlier on Thursday, Ms James alleged that leaders of the lobbying organisation “used millions upon millions from NRA reserves for personal use”, including trips to the Bahamas, private jets and expensive meals.
“The NRA’s influence has been so powerful that the organisation went unchecked for decades while top executives funnelled millions into their own pockets,” Ms James said during a press conference.
Governor Andrew Cuomo told reporters that the NRA had a long history of thwarting the rules of New York state, and that a publicly subsidized not-for-profit cannot also be a political organisation or refuse to disclose financial information.
Donald Trump responded to the lawsuit, telling reporters that the NRA should move to Texas.
“That’s a very terrible thing that just happened. I think the NRA should move to Texas and lead a very good and beautiful life. And I've told them that for a long time. I think they should move to Texas,” Mr Trump said.
The suit also focused on longtime NRA executive vice president and CEO, Wayne LaPierre, who is accused of spending NRA funds on private trips for himself and his family.
Mr LaPierre responded to the suit on Thursday, saying it was an "affront to democracy and freedom".
“This is an unconstitutional, premeditated attack aiming to dismantle and destroy the NRA – the fiercest defender of America’s freedom at the ballot box for decades," he said in a statement. "The NRA is well-governed, financially solvent, and committed to good governance. We’re ready for the fight. Bring it on."