By Kanishka Singh
(Reuters) – Gun control advocacy group Giffords sued the National Rifle Association on Tuesday for allegedly violating campaign finance laws since 2014.
The powerful gun lobby made as much as $35 million in “unlawful” and “unreported in-kind campaign contributions” to seven federal candidates, including candidates for U.S. Senate in 2014, 2016, and 2018, and Donald Trump’s 2016 presidential campaign, according to the allegations.
The lawsuit seeks several forms of relief, including an order preventing the NRA from violating the Federal Election Campaign Act in future, and a penalty equal to the amount of money allegedly spent unlawfully, which the NRA would pay to the U.S. treasury – potentially as much as $35 million.
The lawsuit was filed by campaign finance watchdog Campaign Legal Center on behalf of Giffords in the United States District Court for the District of Columbia.
The NRA said the lawsuit was “as misguided as it is transparent”.
“Another premeditated abuse of the public by our adversaries — who will stop at nothing in their pursuit of their anti-freedom agenda,” the NRA said in a statement.
“Suffice to say, the NRA has full confidence in its political activities and remains eager to set the record straight”.
New York’s attorney general said in August that the NRA had failed to root out rampant internal corruption.
The association had sought to use Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection to reincorporate in Republican-dominated Texas and escape what it called a corrupt political and regulatory environment in New York, where it was founded in 1871.
(Reporting by Kanishka Singh in Bengaluru; Editing by Stephen Coates)