A day after a new report by Talking Points Memo raised more questions about the NRA’s relationship with Russia and Vladimir Putin’s regime, a new Bloomberg View editorial says it’s time for the NRA to come clean and “disclose Russian ties.”
“Democratic Senator Ron Wyden of Oregon, the ranking member on the Senate Finance Committee, has sent letters to the U.S. Treasury Department and to the NRA requesting information on the group’s ties to Putin allies. Committee chairman Orrin Hatch, Republican of Utah, should do the same.
“The public has the right to know if the NRA served as a backdoor for Putin’s sabotage of the election — especially given the NRA’s role in lobbying Congress and state governments, and funding political campaigns. Did the NRA receive any money from Russia-linked individuals or entities? Did it facilitate meetings between Russians and members of the Trump campaign? To what end?”
The NRA reported spending a record $55 million on the 2016 elections, including $30 million to support Trump – nearly triple what the group devoted to backing Republican Mitt Romney during the 2012 presidential race. Most of that was money was spent by an arm of the NRA that is not required to disclose its donors, and according to McClatchy, NRA spending may have exceeded $70 million during the 2016 election.
This editorial is the latest piece to raise questions about the NRA’s continued silence on its relationship with Russia. Earlier this week, Talking Points Memo published a report that raises new questions about why the NRA has boosted the Russian gun group, the Right to Bear Arms, and why it sent an NRA delegation to meet with the organization in Moscow in December 2015. The NRA did not respond to TPM’s request for comment.
Last week, Senator Ron Wyden (D-OR) sent letters to U.S. Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin and the NRA’s Treasurer requesting documents about possible financial ties between Russia and the NRA, following a report by McClatchy that the FBI is “investigating whether Russian money went to [the] NRA to help Trump” get elected. Five days after McClatchy published its story, an outside lawyer for the NRA told McClatchy that the NRA has “not been contacted by the FBI about anything related to Russia.”