Lobbyists claim North Carolina GOP lawmakers are applying pressure to keep them and the businesses they represent quiet about a controversial state law that targets the LGBT community.

More than 200 companies have already spoken out against the law, which blocks cities from enacting LGBT protections and prohibits transgender people from using the bathroom they identify with in government buildings, including schools.

According to NBC affiliate WRAL, the pressure is coming directly from lawmakers or their staffs. Eleven lobbyists told the station that they have experienced or are aware of such actions, but none would talk on camera about the issue. Lobbyists say that they've been told to keep quiet on the law or they could become the target of legislation.

They described the pressure as a “gross abuse of power” and “vicious.”

“It's really disturbing,” said Rep. Chris Sgro, a Democrat from Guilford. “It's a bullying tactic that potentially leadership is using. If it's true that businesses are being threatened that they need to ignore their bottom line in favor of terrible public policy, that's just irresponsible. That needs to stop immediately.”

Senate leader Phil Berger and House Speaker Tim Moore denied the claims.