The results of a congressional probe into the National Rifle Association’s ties to Russia paints a picture of NRA officials providing Russian officials access to American elected officials in exchange for lucrative business opportunities, NBC News reports.
The investigation, conducted by Senate Finance Committee Democrats who released a report on their findings Friday, found that top officials at the NRA used the organization’s financial resources — largely collected by member dues — to curry favor with two Russians, Aleksander Torshin, the deputy governor of the Central Bank of Russia, and his deputy, Maria Butina, who said they had access to top Russian officials.
The investigators focused on a trip in 2015 in which Butina and Torshin led a delegation of NRA officials to Moscow. Former NRA President David Keene and his wife, Donna Keene, organized the trip with the promise of new business opportunities by the Russians, including access to a Russian arms manufacturer that was under U.S. sanctions.
The NRA is currently undergoing a crisis in its ranks as infighting and federal investigation into its finances have rocked the organization. The New York State attorney general is investigating the organization for allegations that it violated its tax status. Butina is serving an 18 month sentence for conspiracy to act as an agent of a foreign official.