Did a Russian banker with ties to Vladimir Putin supply ammunition – i.e. cash – that the National Rifle Association used to help shoot down the presidential candidacy of Hillary Clinton and promote the election of President Trump?
McClatchy Newspapers Washington bureau reports this morning that the FBI is investigating whether at least part of the $55 million the NRA spent on the 2016 election was funneled to the gun lobby by Alexander Torshin, the deputy governor of Russia’s central bank and a lifetime NRA member.
The NRA’s investment in the 2016 election, including $30 million spent in support of Trump, was triple what it put into Mitt Romney’s campaign in 2012.
Federal law bars foreign nationals from spending money to influence U.S. elections.
“Torshin is among a phalanx of Putin proxies to draw the close attention of U.S. investigators, who also have tracked the activities of several Russian billionaires and pro-Russian Ukrainian oligarchs that have come in contact with Trump or his surrogates,” McClatchy reported.
The New York Times has reported earlier that Torshin helped set up a Moscow gun rights group called Right to Bear Arms and attempted – unsuccessfully – to broker a meeting between Putin and Trump during the campaign. He also sought a private meeting with Trump near the 2016 NRA convention.
Office: Common Cause National