Senator Ron Wyden's tweet on the Senate investigation into the NRA's ties to Russia

NRA Was A ‘Foreign Asset’ Helping Russia Before 2016 Election, Senate Reports

An 18-month probe by the Senate Finance Committee has found that the National Rifle Association acted as a “foreign asset” in the months leading up the to 2016 presidential election. According to the report, the NRA promised Russian nationals access to U.S. officials in exchange for the rival nation’s business.

The report was unveiled by Senator Ron Wyden of Oregon, who believes these revelations could have “legal implications” for the NRA. Well, yeah, we sure hope it does.

“After returning from Moscow, the NRA gave the Russians free rein over the guest list for its 2016 Annual Meeting,” Wyden tweeted this morning. “It also provided access to other political organizations in 2015 and 2016 like the National Prayer Breakfast and the secretive right-wing Council for National Policy.”

Investigations had already found that the NRA had given political access to Russian nationals Maria Butina and Alexander Torshin, who had openly declared their ties to the Kremlin.

In one email found by this Senate probe, Butina wrote that “a purpose of the 2015 Moscow trip was that ‘many powerful figures in the Kremlin are counting on Torshin to prove his American connections’ by showing he could bring prominent NRA officials to Russia,” according to NPR.

She even said that she might be able to set up a meeting between NRA officials and Vladimir Putin.

There are many damning revelations outlined in Senator Wyden’s extensive Twitter thread on the report.

“NRA officers’ apparent use of the NRA for personal gain fits a larger pattern of reported self-dealing and raises serious questions about whether the NRA broke U.S. tax laws,” Wyden concludes.

The NRA currently holds tax-exempt status, but in order to maintain that, they have to refrain from “using funds for the personal benefit of its officials or for actions significantly outside their stated missions.”

Connecting Russian officials to Republican leaders certainly seems outside the stated mission of the NRA. The report also found multiple instances in which the NRA lied about the extent of their dealings with Russian officials. The organization has claimed that their 2015 trip to Moscow was not an “official” excursion. The report found that to be a lie.

All of this occurred in 2015 and 2016, leading up to the 2016 election and its surprising results.

Wyden is now calling on the IRS to launch their own investigation into the NRA to determine if the organization violated tax laws.