In case you missed it, McClatchy reported that the National Rifle Association has responded to Senator Ron Wyden’s (D-OR) letter requesting any documents showing financial links between Russia and the NRA. Yet instead of definitively answering whether the NRA accepted any money from Russia or Russian-linked individuals or entities, the NRA’s general counsel cited “a ‘longstanding policy’ by the powerful gun lobby group not to accept funds from foreign individuals or entities for election purposes.”
“Democratic Sen. Ron Wyden of Oregon, a member of the Senate Intelligence Committee that is probing Russian influence on the election, sought the documents after McClatchy reported last month that the FBI was investigating whether a top Russian banker, Alexander Torshin, may have illegally funneled money to the group. Torshin is a lifetime NRA member who has attended several of the organization’s national conferences.
“The NRA was the biggest financial backer of Donald Trump’s Republican presidential campaign, spending at least $30 million on his behalf – nearly triple what it spent to support Republican nominee Mitt Romney in 2012.
“Wyden’s office on Friday released the NRA’s reply: a six-paragraph letter dated Feb. 15 in which General Counsel John Frazer pointed to the group’s policies prohibiting acceptance of foreign money by its various political committees, in compliance with federal election law. The group did not provide Wyden with any documents.
“Frazier’s letter did not directly deny that any Russian funds may have flowed into its coffers in 2016.”(Emphasis added.)
The NRA reported spending a record $55 million on the 2016 elections, including $30 million to support Trump. 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 actually exceeded $70 million during the 2016 election. In addition to reiterating fundraising policies, the NRA noted that “significant contributions from unknown entities are vetted to ensure the legitimacy of donors.”
This letter still doesn’t answer the basic questions Americans have been asking for months. The public needs to know whether or not the NRA took Russian or foreign money during the last election when it spent record amounts to elect President Trump. And until the NRA comes clean and starts answering questions, Americans are left wondering what the NRA might be hiding.