NRA Says Internal Review Found No Russian Funding
In internal review found no evidence Russian nationals contributed to the gun rights group’s 2016 election activities, the National Rifle Association said.
An NRA lawyer offered the assessment in a letter sent March 19 to Oregon Democratic Sen. Ron Wyden, according to The Washington Times.
In February, Wyden pressed the NRA to provide details of any transactions with Russian nationals, government officials or shell companies associated with Russia. The Democrat was particularly interested in any transactions with Alexander Torshin, the deputy chief of Russia’s central bank and NRA lifetime member.
Russian gun rights group Right to Bear Arms co-founder Torshin met Donald Trump Jr. in 2016 at the NRA annual convention.
Several Republican and conservative operatives attempted to put Torshin in contact with President Donald Trump’s campaign and Trump himself.
Fusion GPS, the opposition research group the Clinton campaign hired to investigate the Trump campaign, also investigated Torshin.
In his initial letter to the NRA, Wyden extensively cited a McClatchy report the FBI was investigating whether the NRA funneled contributions from Torshin and other Russians to the Trump campaign.
NRA general counsel John C. Frazer told Wyden last week the group did not receive election-oriented funding from foreign nationals.
“Our review of our records has found no foreign donations in connection with a United States election, either directly or through a conduit,” Frazer wrote to Wyden on March 19, according to The Times.
“Significant contributions from unknown entities are vetted to ensure the legitimacy of donors. The National Rifle Association has strong policies and practices to ensure that we raise and spend for funds within the bounds of the law,” Frazer added. Contributions are “carefully monitored” to ensure compliance with the IRS and Federal Election Commission, he said.
“There’s absolutely no evidence” Torshin funneled money into a political action committee the NRA operated, Frazer also said.
“It’s actually impossible under our system. We actually have a very sophisticated system to prevent foreign money from coming in, not because of Russia, but because we can’t let it in,” Frazer wrote, according to The Times.
Frazer told Wyden in February that at that time, “there has been no contact between the FBI and the NRA.”