Dispatch July 19, 2018

OP-ED: Bringing Dark Money To a Gunfight: The NRA and Other Groups Are Increasingly Using Untraceable Dollars To Influence Our Elections

On Monday, the Justice Department charged Maria Butina, a Russian national closely linked to both the NRA and the Kremlin, with conspiracy to act as an unregistered foreign agent. For years, Butina and Alexander Torshin, the sanctioned deputy chairman of the Russian Central Bank, have cultivated close ties with the gun lobby in an effort to advance the Russian government’s agenda.
An FBI affidavit supporting the complaint quoted an unnamed American saying that he helped secure “a VERY private line of communication between the Kremlin” and Republican Party leaders. He added that “of all conduits” for that communication, he was referring to a gun rights organization — from context, almost certainly the NRA.
It is hardly surprising that “of all conduits,” the NRA would be the choice. After all, secret interference with U.S. politics seems to be NRA’s stock in trade.