In case you missed it, a new report by Mother Jones uncovers new connections between Russia and the NRA — this time suggesting that the NRA may have profited from its relationship with top Putin ally and lifetime NRA member Alexander Torshin, who is reportedly attracting scrutiny from FBI investigators:
- According to Mother Jones, in 2011, U.S. gun manufacturer Arsenal Inc. sold 100 limited-edition AK-74s signed by Mikhail Kalashnikov—a personal friend of Torshin’s—with the $100,000 or more in proceeds going to the NRA-ILA, the organization’s political lobbying arm.
Torshin posed for photos at the 2016 NRA convention wearing an NRA “Ring of Freedom” donor ID badge. According to the NRA’s website, “Freedom-loving individuals, families or companies who make gifts totaling $1,000 or more per year to the NRA or any of its entities are recognized as donors through the NRA Ring of Freedom program.”
“For more than a year now, reports have trickled out about deepening ties among prominent members of the National Rifle Association, conservative Republicans, a budding gun-rights movement in Russia—and their convergence in the Trump campaign.
“Now attention is focused around a middle-aged Russian central bank official and a photogenic young gun activist from Siberia who share several passions: posing with assault rifles, making connections with Republican presidential candidates, and publicizing their travels between Moscow and America on social media. Alexander Torshin and his protégé Maria Butina also share an extraordinary status with America’s largest gun lobbying group, according to Torshin: “Today in NRA (USA) I know only 2 people from the Russian Federation with the status of ‘Life Member’: Maria Butina and I,” he tweeted the day after Donald Trump was elected president.
“Of particular interest are their overtures to Trump. Butina asked him straight-up at a campaign event about the future of “damaging” sanctions against Russia. Torshin twice tried to meet with Trump, according to the New York Times, and did meet with Donald Trump Jr. at an NRA event. Meanwhile, the House Intelligence Committee has heard sworn testimony about possible Kremlin “infiltration” of the NRA and other conservative groups. And the FBI reportedly is investigating whether Torshin illegally funneled money to the Trump campaign through the NRA—which backed Trump with a record $30 million.”
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