The NRA and Russia

“The National Rifle Association is setting aside years of documents related to its interactions with a Kremlin-linked banker, as the gun-rights group appears to be bracing for a possible investigation, according to sources familiar with the situation.” – CNN, 4/27/18

The FBI is purportedly investigating whether Alexander Torshin, a top Russian banker and ally to Vladimir Putin, illegally funneled money to the NRA to help sway the 2016 election in Trump’s favor.

Additionally, at least three congressional committees are probing Russia’s 2016 operations and have also shown an interest in Torshin, who is a lifetime NRA member and has attended several of its annual conventions.

The NRA has fought every meaningful attempt at gun reform. Now, it appears that they may have broken the law. But Republicans in Congress don’t seem to care. And neither do Trump or Pence.

Now the NRA is bracing for an investigation into possible campaign finance violations with Russia, and yet many Republicans in Congress still take their money.

This from Bloomberg News back in August 2016:

“Torshin, a leading figure in Putin’s party, has been implicated in money laundering by judicial authorities in Spain. … Spanish investigators alleged in an almost 500-page internal report that Torshin… capitalized on his government role to assist mobsters laundering funds through Spanish properties and banks.”

A summary of the report obtained by McClatchy DC Bureau linked Torshin to Russian money laundering and described him as a godfather in a Russian criminal organization known as the Taganskaya.

According to McClatchy DC Bureau in January 2018:

“FBI counterintelligence investigators have focused on the activities of …  the deputy governor of Russia’s central bank who is known for his close relationships with both Russian President Vladimir Putin and the NRA, the sources said. It is illegal to use foreign money to influence federal elections. The NRA reported spending a record $55 million on the 2016 elections, including $30 million to support Trump – triple what the group devoted to backing Republican Mitt Romney in the 2012 presidential race. Most of that was money was spent by an arm of the NRA that is not required to disclose its donors.”

According to NPR in March 2018:

“A prominent Kremlin-linked Russian politician has methodically cultivated ties with leaders of the National Rifle Association and documented efforts in real time over six years to leverage those connections and gain deeper access into American politics, NPR has learned. Russian politician Alexander Torshin said his ties to the NRA provided him access to Donald Trump — and the opportunity to serve as a foreign election observer in the United States during the 2012 election.”

According to Business Insider in March 2018:

“The National Rifle Association is fielding a growing number of questions about its ties to Alexander Torshin…  who has been described as “President Putin’s emissary” in the US … said that he knew President Donald Trump through the NRA.”

According to Mother Jones in the May/June Issue 2018:

“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 lawmakers and 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.”

We all know what happened to Maria Butina.

 

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