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Everytown for Gun Safety Responds to Purported Lifetime NRA Member and Russian National Maria Butina’s Sentencing

As President Trump and Vice President Pence Prepare to Take the Stage at the NRA Convention, Russian National and Purported Lifetime NRA Member Maria Butina is Sentenced to Eighteen Months in Prison

According to Reports, NRA Employees Helped Butina with Travel Arrangements to Moscow for Group of NRA Leaders, That Included Former NRA President David Keene, Future NRA President Pete Brownell, NRA Fundraiser Joe Gregory and Others

WASHINGTON ― Everytown for Gun Safety today released the following statement after purported lifetime NRA member Maria Butina was sentenced to eighteen months in prison for “conspiracy to act as an agent of the Russian Federation within the United States without prior notification to the attorney general.” Butina sought to establish connections with conservatives having power and influence over American politics, particularly within the NRA. This included hosting a high-ranking delegation from the NRA in Moscow in 2015. Much more information about Butina is available here and here.

“On the same day President Trump is speaking at the NRA convention, Maria Butina — an agent of the Russian government who used previous NRA gatherings to cultivate gun lobby leaders and lawmakers — was sentenced to prison,” said John Feinblatt, president of Everytown for Gun Safety. “With NRA leaders all in one place, now is the perfect time to come clean about why they gave Butina an all-access pass.”

Ahead of today’s sentencing, the Department of Justice filed a memo requesting that Butina, who faced a maximum sentence of five years and a $250,000 fine, be imprisoned for 18 months. Mother Jones reported that in the memo, a former top FBI counterintelligence expert “noted that Butina’s activities had ‘tremendous intelligence value’ for the Russian government and the potential for ‘harm to the integrity of the United States’ political processes and internal government dealings, as well as to US foreign policy interests and national security.’”

Earlier this week, Everytown released a new “NRA in Crisis” report which details scandals and investigations ensnaring the NRA, including its deep ties to Russia and admitted Kremlin agent Maria Butina.

The NRA spent $55 million – or perhaps more than $70 million, according to McClatchy — to influence the 2016 elections. That’s far more than the group ever spent during a previous election. But the NRA does not have to disclose all of its donors, making it difficult to tell where the majority of the money came from.