In the days that followed the mass shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida, the NRA was front and center, repeating their line that the solution to gun violence in the U.S. isn’t gun control, it’s more guns in the hands of more people.
As much as the National Rifle Association loves to have its spokespeople on television and in the public eye, a recent request from Oregon Senator Ron Wyden (D) left the chief lobbying arm of the gun industry silent.
In early February, Wyden released a pair of letters telling the NRA he wanted any information of their connection to Russian nationals. As Think Progress reports:
“The questions came after McClatchy reported that the FBI was investigating whether Alexander Torshin — a Russian national who happens to be an NRA member, as well as the NRA’s main liaison in Russia — had used the NRA to funnel funds to Donald Trump’s presidential campaign. Torshin, described by The Daily Beast as a ‘Putin ally,’ has a history of laundering Russian money in Europe, according to Spanish investigators.”
NRA secretary and general counsel John Frazer responded to Wyden with a terse letter that read, in part:
“As a longstanding policy to comply with federal election law, the NRA and its related entities do not accept funds from foreign persons or entities in connection with United States elections.”
Here’s the problem with Frazer’s response: It’s not an actual denial that the National Rifle Assocation accepted foreign money. And it also neglects to mention the trip to Moscow taken by senior NRA officials in 2015.
But perhaps the most glaring omission from the NRA general counsel is the simple fact that nowhere in the letter did he address the fact that the NRA pumped $30 million into the Trump campaign from a part of the organization that doesn’t disclose its donors.
Wyden is refusing to take no for an answer, and has now written to the Treasury Department requesting any documentation that deals with the National Rifle Association’s ties to Russia, specifically to:
“Shell companies or other illicit funding mechanisms suspected of being connected to these reported links.”
To date, the Department of the Treasury has yet to comply with Senator Wyden’s request.
The matter of NRA ties to Russia may also be of great interest to Special Counsel Robert Mueller. If he can trace the money trail from Russia to the NRA and then to the Trump campaign, he would have evidence that Russia did indeed pour millions of dollars directly into the Trump operation. And that could spell big trouble — not to mention indictments — for Trump and the National Rifle Association.
Here’s a propaganda video the National Rifle Association released after the Russia investigation began:
Featured Image Via YouTube Screengrab