Senate Finds NRA Provided Russians Access To Republicans For Money

Looking for that quid pro quo Republicans claim doesn’t exist? Here it is, but with the Russians and elected officials of the NRA variety.

The congressional probe into the National Rifle Association’s relationship with Russia shows a U.S. tax-exempt organization working as a conduit to provide Russian officials access to Republicans with the quid pro quo of “lucrative personal business opportunities.”

These are the results of the Senate investigation that was first reported at PoliticusUSA in February 2019.
“The NRA and Russia: How a Tax-Exempt Organization Became a Foreign Asset,” report explains A LOT.

Senate Finance Committee Ranking Member Ron Wyden (D-ORE) released the results of his 18-month investigation into the NRA’s relationship with Russia, which reveals that the NRA has may have violated numerous tax laws and most importantly, given the current situation with Republicans defending Donald Trump from proof that he worked with the Russians to cheat in the 2016 election and has tried to extort Ukraine to help him cheat in 2020, accuses the NRA of promising access to U.S. officials in exchange for Russian business.

Highlights:

New evidence that the 2015 delegation to Moscow was an official NRA trip meant to demonstrate Alexander Torshin’s American connections to the Kremlin, contrary to NRA statements that it was an unofficial trip organized by individuals merely interested in fostering gun rights in Russia.

New evidence that NRA insiders exchanged access to the American political system for the promise of lucrative personal business opportunities.

New evidence that the NRA may have violated tax laws that prohibit the use of any organization resources for personal benefit.

New evidence that NRA insiders may have violated U.S. sanctions by meeting with sanctioned Russian government officials and state-linked weapons manufacturers in pursuit of personal business opportunities.

The NRA paid for currying access between Russians and U.S. elected officials with their members’ dues money.

Republicans, of course, did not cooperate with this probe by the minority party in the Senate. Because goodness knows, if the Russians have access to any elected officials in the United States, Senate Republicans are an obvious guess.

Republicans were able to block an FEC investigation into Russia and the NRA, but the FBI has been investigating the NRA/Russia connection for years.

Republican Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has been feted by the Russians and funded in part by them. In 2015-16, long-term business partner of Kremlin-linked Russian oligarch Oleg Deripaska Len Blavatnik, for example, of the aluminum company RuSal, donated to GOP leaders and PACs. PolitiFact notes, “his companies contributed over $6.3 million, with $2.5 million going to McConnell’s Senate Leadership Fund. In 2017, Blavatnik donated another $1 million to the committee, records show, bringing the total to $3.5 million.”

The Senate report urges the IRS to investigate the NRA’s abuse of their tax exempt status and calls on the OFAC to finally “investigate whether Russian arms manufacturers are evading sanctions to do business in the United States.”