McClatchy DC Senator asks whether NRA used Russian funds to free other money for politics

Peter Stone & Greg Gordon
Mar 5, 2018

A senior member of the Senate Intelligence Committee pressed the National Rifle Association Monday to divulge whether it has concealed financial support from Russia during the 2016 election campaign by channeling the money to a nonpolitical account whose donors need not be publicly disclosed.

In a letter to the NRA’s top lawyer, Democratic Sen. Ron Wyden of Oregon also asked whether the powerful gun lobby group can state firmly that it has “never wittingly or unwittingly” received money “from individuals or entities acting as conduits for foreign entities or interests.”


Larry Noble, a former FEC general counsel, said that accepting money in a non-political account still could be illegal “if the NRA made any statements to Torshin or other Russians suggesting that their contributions would allow the NRA to spend more money on the elections.”

“Even if the NRA didn’t charge election spending against those contributions, I believe this would be a violation of the prohibition on using foreign funds to influence our elections,” said Noble, now senior director and general counsel of the Campaign Legal Center.

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