The NRA now admits on the record it received foreign donations to push a pro-gun agenda and oppose politicians trying to prevent gun violence.
The National Rifle Association is finally admitting that it receives and uses foreign money to finance its operations.
When the organization attacks the survivors of mass shootings, or smears politicians trying to reduce gun violence, it’s using foreign dollars to do so.
What is supposed to be an American organization influencing legislation and political debate has been exposed as a site for foreign money infusions into American politics.
“We do receive some contributions from foreign individuals and entities,” the organization’s general counsel, John C. Frazier, admitted in response to an inquiry from Sen. Ron Wyden (D-OR). Frazier insisted the contributions are for “lawful purposes.”
But there has been widespread concern about the NRA being a conduit for Russian money to influence the 2016 election. The highest-profile recipient of what might have been foreign-tainted money would be Trump. The NRA endorsed Trump and spent millions to elect him in 2016. That was a goal Russia shared.
“The NRA has a public responsibility to disclose where their foreign donations are coming from,” Wyden said in a statement to Shareblue Media. “Money in these accounts could be used to pay for ad campaigns and voter mobilization efforts. Knowing what outside actors are directly or indirectly influencing the US political debate is critical to the preservation of our Democracy.”
The gun rights extremists claim that none of its foreign money went to election operations, but as NPR notes, “The movement of its money between accounts could make it difficult, if not impossible, to track how the money is spent since it is not isolated or sequestered.”
The NRA acknowledges receiving money from foreign sources, which they place in certain designated accounts, but the group also admits that “transfers between accounts are made as permitted by law.”
That means the NRA could receive foreign money in one account and then transfer all or some of that money to campaign accounts, essentially using overseas cash to back its favored candidates. As NPR points out, “The NRA is not required to be transparent about how money moves between its various political entities, and this leaves questions unanswered about how these foreign funds were ultimately spent.”
After the mass shooting at Stoneman Douglas High in Parkland, Florida, Trump first made public statements about several measures he would undertake to help reduce gun violence. He said he would discuss raising age requirements.
But after receiving marching orders in-person from the NRA, Trump backed off. Since then, he has offered meaningless lip service and reforms studiously designed to ignore the gun issue and their role in mass murders.
He is doing everything a politician in thrall to extremists bankrolled by mysterious foreign funds would do.