The former president of the NRA and his wife worked with Maria Butina on a scheme to sell jet fuel that got Butina on the FBI‘s radar and highlighted the link between the NRA and Russia.
For the young Russian gun rights activist studying in the United States, it would have been an unimaginably rich payday: $1 million to help broker the sale of Russian jet fuel to an American middleman. All she had to do was secure the fuel.
Ms. Butina’s efforts to deal in Russian jet fuel, detailed in hundreds of pages of previously unreported emails, were notable not just for their whiff of foreign intrigue but for who they involved: David Keene, a former president of the National Rifle Association and a prominent leader of the conservative movement, who has advised Republican candidates from Ronald Reagan to Mitt Romney. They also involved Mr. Keene’s wife, Donna, a well-connected Washington lobbyist, and Ms. Butina’s boyfriend, Paul Erickson, who ran Patrick J. Buchanan’s 1992 presidential campaign and who moved in rarefied conservative circles despite allegations of fraud in three states.
The NRA, Russia, and Shady People Trying To Make A Fast Buck
The takeaway from this scheme is that the Russians are deeply embedded in the conservative movement in the United States. It seems like none of the people involved in the scheme knew what they were doing, but everyone was greedy and looking to make some quick money, and were not the most ethical of characters.
The NRA has been waving the flag and screaming about the Second Amendment while taking cash from Putin.
Trump is the norm in the conservative movement
For years, Republicans have been trying to dumb down the Republican Party and America with their war on facts, education, and intelligence. Donald Trump is their crowning achievement. The scheme that the former NRA president, his wife, and Butima were trying to carry out was dumb, but it also shows the level of corruption that has infiltrated the conservative moment.
Trump isn’t the exception. He is the rule, and those flags that the NRA likes to wrap themselves in were paid for with Russian Rubles from Putin.
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Mr. Easley is the founder/managing editor and Senior White House and Congressional correspondent for PoliticusUSA. Jason has a Bachelor’s Degree in Political Science. His graduate work focused on public policy, with a specialization in social reform movements.
Awards and Professional Memberships
Member of the Society of Professional Journalists and The American Political Science Association