In case you missed it, Senators Richard Blumenthal (D-CT) and Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI) are calling on the Senate Judiciary Committee to examine whether top officials at the NRA were aware of Russia’s attempts to contribute money to the Donald Trump presidential campaign through the gun rights group. In a letter to Chairman Charles Grassley (R-IA), the Senators called on the Committee to hold public hearings on the matter. Senator Blumenthal also called on NRA officials to “testify—in public and under oath.”
This request comes one week after Russian national and purported lifetime NRA member Maria Butina was arrested and charged by the Department of Justice with “conspiracy to act as an agent of the Russian Federation within the United States without prior notification to the Attorney General” and infiltrating the upper ranks of the NRA.
The NRA reported spending a record $55 million on the 2016 elections, including $30 million to support Donald 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 actually exceeded $70 million during the 2016 election.