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NRA Refuses To Explain Its Relationship With Russia

Screengrab/The Young Turks/YouTube

Rather than answer questions, the NRA penned a brief letter saying that no potential Russian funds were improperly used.

McClatchy reported in January that the National Rifle Association had found itself caught up in special counsel Robert Mueller's investigation into Russian election meddling, specifically Alexander Torshin's possible funneling of money to the Trump campaign through the NRA.

Following this revelation, Sen. Ron Wyden (D-OR) requested more information from NRA officials, but the organization's response was less than desirable:

Instead of answering Wyden’s request, however, the NRA issued a terse letter denying that it received any funds from Moscow specifically designed to influence the election.

“As a longstanding policy to comply with federal election law, the NRA and its related entities do not accept funds from foreign persons or entities in connection with United States elections,” NRA secretary and general counsel John Frazer wrote to Wyden. Frazer added that the FBI has not contacted the NRA, and that McClatchy’s coverage “refers to an investigation of Mr. Torshin — not of the NRA.”

In his letter to the NRA, Wyden had voiced concern that “Russian-backed shell companies or intermediaries may have circumvented laws designed to prohibit foreign meddling in our elections", and asked for “all documents related to any remuneration, transaction, or contribution” between Russia and the NRA, including “real estate ownership documentation".

A Wyden aide told ThinkProgress that the senator “is reviewing the NRA’s response and considering additional follow-up questions.”

Wyden also issued a separate letter to the Treasury Department requesting documents pertaining to ties between Russia and the NRA — especially as it pertains to “shell companies or other illicit funding mechanisms suspected of being connected to these reported links.” The Treasury Department hasn’t yet replied to Wyden’s request.