That’s the story in a report from Democrats in the US Senate Finance Committee…
National Rifle Association funds paid for lodging and travel of Russian nationals throughout 2015 and 2016, as part of a relationship that allowed foreign actors looking to influence the U.S. election, including now-convicted Maria Butina, to infiltrate the gun-rights group, a new report asserts.
The report, released Friday by Democrats on the Senate Finance Committee, also says NRA leaders traveled to Moscow in December 2015 partly on the NRA’s dime, even though some went there to pursue their own personal business opportunities. This raises questions, the report says, about whether they violated laws on how nonprofit funds can be used.
The trip to Moscow gave Russians an opening to the organization as the election was ramping up, as well as access to other events involving Republican party leaders, the Democrats say.
The committee’s Republican majority issued a rebuttal, saying the Democrats are using “facts and innuendo” about the NRA-Russia ties that “together demonstrate little to nothing,” and said the “extent of the evidence reviewed does not raise concerns the NRA abused its tax-exempt purposes when some of its high-ranking officials traveled to Russia in December 2015.”
A representative of the NRA didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment….