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ICYMI: New York Daily News op-ed - “The Russification of the NRA”

In case you missed it, a new opinion piece in the New York Daily News says that the deep connections between Russia and the National Rifle Association “stretch beyond personal relationships” and that the “parallels in tone and posture between both sides is remarkable, and telling.”

In addition to news that the FBI is reportedly investigating whether Russia tried to help elect President Trump by funneling money through the NRA, the piece argues that the organization is now shifting towards “Russian-style political rhetoric.”

Chelsea Parsons and James Lamond, both with the Center for American Progress write:

“Whether there was Russian support and infiltration of the NRA, and if so, its full extent, is not yet clear. But the group purports to speak for the millions of American gun owners and markets itself as the country’s “longest-standing civil rights organization.”

“Their ties to Russia, and the metamorphosis in their message, force the question: Who are they really speaking for?”

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 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 opinion piece comes two days after a Bloomberg View editorial that calls for the NRA to come clean and “disclose any Russian ties.” 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.”

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