ABC News Reports TulAmmo USA Being Featured as Exhibitor at NRA Convention Despite “Ties to a Recently Sanctioned Russian Oligarch” and Other Sanctioned Russian Entities
Former Senior State Department Sanctions Official Peter Harrell: “The Fact That a Portion of Those Profits Flow to Some of Putin’s Closest Cronies Makes the Situation Even More Problematic”
DALLAS – As President Donald Trump and Vice President Mike Pence prepare to address the NRA convention today, ABC News reports that a Russia-linked ammunition company, TulAmmo USA, is an expected exhibitor at this year’s NRA convention.
Everytown for Gun Safety Action Fund has launched ads in Dallas calling for the NRA to come clean on Russian money and its ties to Russia as CNN reports the NRA is “setting aside years of documents related to its interactions with a Kremlin-linked banker” who is reportedly at the center of an FBI probe into “whether Russian money went to [the] NRA to help Trump” in 2016. The NRA has denied being contacted by the FBI about anything related to Russia.
STATEMENT FROM ANDREW ZUCKER, FEDERAL MEDIA RELATIONS DIRECTOR FOR EVERYTOWN FOR GUN SAFETY:
“Talk about unbelievable. While the NRA dodges important questions about Russian money and its ties to Russia, we learn that the NRA is hosting a Russia-linked company with ties to Putin’s inner circle at this year’s NRA convention. Before the next shoe drops, the NRA should do itself a favor and come clean with the American people on all of its Russia ties.”
TulAmmo USA, named after the Russian city, Tula, from which its munitions are exported, has multiple ties to Russia and entities sanctioned by the U.S., European Union and Canada.
- TulAmmo USA exports ammunition from the Tula Arms Plant in Tula, Russia, which supplies ammunition for the Russian military.
- The Tula Arms Plant was directly sanctioned by the European Union. in 2014 and Canada in 2015.
- The parent company that owns the Tula Arms Plant, through another subsidiary company, was sanctioned by the U.S. in 2014.
- The subsidiary company that owns the Tula Arms Plant owns another arms manufacturer that was sanctioned by the U.S. in 2015.
- The 46 percent owner of the Tula Arms Plant, Igor Rotenberg, was sanctioned by the Trump administration in 2018. After being sanctioned, Rotenberg reduced his ownership share to 20.23 percent. Rotenberg’s uncle and father were sanctioned by the Obama administration in 2014. Rotenberg’s father was also Vladimir Putin’s childhood judo partner.
- TulAmmo USA has been at every NRA convention since 2011.
An ammunition distributor with ties to a recently sanctioned Russian oligarch is listed among the expected exhibitors at the National Rifle Association’s Annual Meetings opening in Dallas, Texas on Friday.
TulAmmo USA is a private company headquartered in Round Rock, Texas, but sells small-arms ammunition manufactured by the Tula Cartridge Works in Tula, Russia, about 120 miles outside of Moscow. The factory, one of Russia’s oldest and largest arms plants, is tied to a number of entities and individuals who have been sanctioned by the U.S. Treasury Department, including Rostec, Russia’s state-owned defense conglomerate, and Igor Rotenberg, an oligarch who was recently targeted alongside several other allies of Russian President Vladimir Putin.
[TulAmmo USA CEO Ed] Grasso told ABC News that he was aware of the sanctions against Rostec and Rotenberg but insisted the company has done its due diligence.
“I’ve never delved into it, but Rostsec owns a lot of companies in Russia,” Grasso said. “[And] I have been assured that [Rotenberg’s] ownership shares are no longer anything that we have to be concerned with.”
TulAmmo USA, meanwhile, is poised to occupy a booth in Kay Bailey Hutchison Convention Center this weekend alongside hundreds of other approved exhibitors even as questions have swirled about whether Russians have attempted to use the NRA as a vehicle to influence the 2016 election.
Grasso said TulAmmo USA has not made any contributions of any kind – political or otherwise — to the NRA beyond paying for a booth at the annual convention since 2011.
ABC’s report raises a number of questions, which the NRA must now answer:
- Is the NRA aware of TulAmmo USA’s ties to Russia and sanctioned Russian entities?
- What other companies at the NRA Convention have ties to Russia?
- How much money has TulAmmo USA paid to the NRA for booths at its annual conventions?
- Are any Russian nationals tied to TulAmmo USA in attendance at this year’s NRA convention or previous NRA conventions?