It has now been more than two weeks since Russian national and purported lifetime NRA member Maria Butina was arrested and charged by the Department of Justice with being an unregistered Kremlin agent. Butina hosted senior NRA officials who made two separate trips to Moscow, attended three NRA conventions as a VIP guest, became a “fixture” at high-dollar NRA donor events and met with senior officials including NRA executive vice president Wayne LaPierre, and former NRA presidents David Keene, Sandy Froman and Jim Porter.
The NRA reported spending a record $55 million on the 2016 elections, including $30 million to support Donald Trump – far more than it ever spent on a previous election. Most of that money was spent by an arm of the NRA that is not required to disclose its donors, and according to a McClatchy report from January, NRA spending may have actually exceeded $70 million during the 2016 election. The FBI is reportedly investigating “whether Russian money went to [the] NRA to help Trump” in 2016.
Despite those deep ties, the NRA has refused to comment on its relationship with Butina, her arrest or its broader ties to the Kremlin, since Butina’s arrest.
See for yourself:
- “No senior NRA official has made any public statement about Butina’s case since news of the charges was announced by the US justice department on 16 July.”
- “Keene did not immediately respond to an email seeking comment. Erickson could not be reached for comment. His voicemail was full, and he did not respond to a text message seeking comment.”
- “The NRA did not return calls for comment.”
- “The NRA has not commented on the charges against Butina.”
- “NRA officials did not respond to requests for comment.”
- “The NRA did not respond to requests for comment about its relationship with Butina.”
- “The NRA, which has previously been connected to Butina, has not commented on the charges.”
- “The NRA did not respond to a request for comment.”
- “An NRA spokesperson did not respond to requests for comment about the trip, which the group’s critics interpreted as a sign the NRA is hiding something.”
- “The NRA did not respond to requests for comment.”
- “The N.R.A. did not respond to a message seeking comment.”
The question everyone ought to be asking: What is the NRA hiding?