Assemblyman Butler 'stunned' by Gov. Cuomo's 'overreach' in cutting ties with organizations like NRA
Thursday, April 26, 2018 - 9:24 am

A North Country assemblyman who has received more than $4,500 in contributions from the National Rifle Association and an NRA-affiliated group says the governor is overreaching in “essentially severing ties” with organizations like the NRA.

Assemblyman Marc W. Butler, R-Newport, released a statement on Wednesday saying he is “stunned by Gov. (Andrew) Cuomo’s complete overreach in essentially severing ties with organizations like the National Rifle Association (NRA), which work to protect the Second Amendment rights of law-abiding citizens.”

“The Department of Financial Services (DFS) issued a memorandum indicating that all New York State-chartered banks and financial institutions should ‘manage their risks…in dealing with organizations such as the NRA.’ The governor then issued a press release stating such continued relationships ‘jeopardize public safety,’” the statement reads.

Butler’s statement says he believes Cuomo is “bullying and threatening” to these businesses, since DFS is responsible for charters and has authority over such institutions.

According to a database compiled by Newsday, Butler since 1999 has received $4,575 in contributions from the NRA and an NRA-affiliated organization. The NRA itself gave $550. The rest of the money came from the New York State Rifle and Pistol Association, who on their website identify themselves as a non-profit and the “official NRA-affiliated State Association in New York.” The Newsday database is at https://bit.ly/2r2fIy7.

“It is unbelievable that the governor and the Department of Financial Services would make such an outlandish and inappropriate move in issuing memoranda recommending banks and other such institutions sever ties with organizations like the NRA, which represent numerous law-abiding gun owners, especially here in upstate New York,” Butler said in a prepared statement. “For a district such as mine, a move such as this is a complete insult to the many men and women of all political backgrounds who chose to lawfully own a firearm, as it is their Second Amendment right. When the governor and a business-regulatory agency make such statements, one must question if banks and other financial businesses that do not comply will cause the state to shun or blacklist these businesses. I call on the governor to retract this immediately.

Butler’s statement says he believes that “a governmental entity making such determinations sets a terrible precedence.”

In the news release, the assemblyman cites a passage in a memorandum from Maria T. Vullo, the superintendent of financial Service: “In light of the above, and subject to compliance with applicable laws, the Department encourages its chartered and licensed financial institutions to continue evaluating and managing their risks, including reputational risks, that may arise from their dealings with the NRA or similar gun promotion organizations, as well as continued assessment of compliance with their own codes of social responsibility."

“In light of the above, and subject to compliance with applicable laws, the Department encourages its chartered and licensed financial institutions to continue evaluating and managing their risks, including reputational risks, that may arise from their dealings with the NRA or similar gun promotion organizations, as well as continued assessment of compliance with their own codes of social responsibility," the memo reads.