NRA Acknowledges One Contribution From Russian Banker

Moscow, RUSSIAN FEDERATION: Alexander Torshin, deputy speaker of the Federation Council reports on the parliamentary commission's investigation in Moscow, 28 December 2005. The Beslan school hostage massacre last ye... Moscow, RUSSIAN FEDERATION: Alexander Torshin, deputy speaker of the Federation Council reports on the parliamentary commission's investigation in Moscow, 28 December 2005. The Beslan school hostage massacre last year "could have been prevented" if local law enforcement had followed orders to tighten security, the head of the Russian parliamentary commission investigating the tragedy said 28 December. "If orders had been followed, the terrorist act could have been prevented," Alexander Torshin told lawmakers as he outlined preliminary conclusions from a parliamentary inquiry set up in September 2004. AFP PHOTO / DENIS SINYAKOV (Photo credit should read DENIS SINYAKOV/AFP/Getty Images) MORE LESS

The National Rifle Association is claiming it received only one donation from a Russian between the 2012 and 2018 election cycles.

Steven Hart, the NRA’s outside counsel, told ABC News that Russian banker Aleksandr Torshin paid less than $1,000 to become a lifetime member of the gun rights group.

Hart denied to ABC that the funds went towards election-related activities, and said that the membership application was not part of “a major donor program.”

Newsletters
Get TPM in your inbox, twice weekly.
Your subscription could not be saved. Please try again.
Your subscription has been successful.

TPM has previously reported on Torshin’s lifetime membership, which the Russian politician confirmed in a 2014 Washington Times op-ed.

The FBI is investigating whether Torshin illegally funneled money to the NRA to benefit Trump’s 2016 presidential campaign, according to a January report in McClatchy.

That reported probe has sparked questions about the kind of foreign funds the gun lobbying giant pulls in. Earlier this week, NRA General Counsel John Frazer acknowledged in a letter to Sen. Ron Wyden (D-OR) that the NRA accepted foreign donations and moved money between its various accounts, but said the group did not use foreign funds for election-related purposes.

Campaign finance experts told TPM that murky campaign finance laws make it difficult to know the truth. Because money is fungible, the NRA could legally receive foreign money into its general accounts and then transfer the same amount to its political advocacy arm.

Hart told ABC that the entire FBI probe is “imaginary” and that the NRA’s political arm never illegally accepted foreign contributions.

“This all comes off one report. We’ve been trying to be polite. How do you prove a negative?” Hart asked in the interview.

Latest Muckraker
Comments
Masthead Masthead
Founder & Editor-in-Chief:
Executive Editor:
Managing Editor:
Associate Editor:
Investigations Desk:
Reporters:
Newswriters:
Director of Audience:
Editor at Large:
General Counsel:
Publisher:
Head of Product:
Director of Technology:
Associate Publisher:
Front End Developer:
Senior Designer: