The National Rifle Association (NRA) seems to share much more than ideologies around gun politics with President Donald Trump.
According to The Hill, the gun rights advocacy group revealed in a letter to Sen. Ron Wyden (D-Oregon) that it received donations from 23 individuals with ties to Russia since 2015.
The letter, which was made public on Wednesday, stated that the organization got more than $2,500 from the contributors, most of which was purportedly from “routine payments,” such as membership fees. The NRA also made a point to assert that some of the payments could have come from Americans living in Russia.
This revelation exposed a contradictory statement from last month when an outside counsel for the organization told ABC News that the group received only one donation of less than $1,000 from a Russian individual between 2012 and 2018.
In the letter, NRA general counsel John Frazer also acknowledged payments the group received from Alexander Torshin, a Russian politician and the deputy of the country’s central bank.
Frazer claimed that since 2012, Torshin has been a life member of the NRA but hasn’t contributed any money beyond membership dues.
Ironically, Torshin is one of the Russian officials named in the recently-imposed United States sanctions. According to Frazer, the NRA is now “reviewing our responsibilities with respect to him.”
Frazer may have felt compelled to address Torshin’s contributions, specifically, because in January, reports surfaced that the FBI was investigating whether Torshin was funneling money through the NRA to help Trump win the presidential election.
Frazer’s assertion that Torshin has only ever contributed membership fees appears to attempt to dispel that theory.
Wyden received this letter after months of questioning the NRA’s possible Russia ties. However, the group added in its letter that it wouldn’t be offering any other information or correspondence to the senator going forward.
"Given the extraordinarily time-consuming and burdensome nature of your requests, we must respectfully decline to engage in this beyond the clear answers we have already provided," Frazer wrote.
Despite Frazer's so-called explanations, something still seems sketchy about the amount of Russia-affiliated donations the group received, especially considering the number disclosed just last month was only one and has now leaped to nearly two dozen.
Banner/thumbnail credit: Reuters, Joshua Roberts