REPS LIEU AND RICE CALL FOR FBI INVESTIGATION INTO RUSSIAN INFLUENCE ON NRA
WASHINGTON – Today, Congressman Ted W. Lieu (D-Los Angeles County) and Congresswoman Kathleen Rice (D-NY) sent a letter to FBI Director Christopher Wray calling for an investigation into whether the Kremlin used the National Rifle Association (NRA) to funnel money into electoral campaigns. Mr. Lieu and Ms. Rice, both former prosecutors, are calling on the FBI to evaluate whether Russia illegally used the NRA to support or interfere with Senate and Congressional campaigns.
In the letter, the Members write:
· On May 16, Senate Judiciary Democrats released a report detailing the preliminary findings of their investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 election. Specifically, the findings indicated that the Committee has received documents suggesting that Russia may have used the NRA to improperly provide financial support to the Trump campaign.
· This finding is consistent with recent public reporting that the NRA may have served as a conduit for illegal Russian contributions to the Trump campaign. It is further bolstered by the complex web of relationships between Russian nationals and the NRA. In particular, we understand that the organization has ties to Alexander Torshin, the deputy governor of Russia’s central bank; Maria Butina, Torshin’s assistant and the founder of Right to Bear Arms; Sergei Rudov, the general director of St. Basil the Great Charitable Foundation, which has been reportedly used for money laundering; and Dmitry Rogozin, Russia’s Deputy Prime Minister of Defense.
· The NRA spent more than $30 million to support the Trump campaign, an amount far greater than those used for previous Republican presidential nominees. We also know the NRA spent significant amounts on U.S. House or U.S. Senate races.
· Illegal campaign contributions by a foreign nation, especially one whose interests stand in stark contrast to those of the United States, threaten the very underpinnings of our democracy and cannot remain unchallenged. As such, if the FBI is not already doing so, we urge you to immediately investigate any potential illegal contributions by Russia to the Trump campaign and ensure such investigation includes contributions to any U.S. House or U.S. Senate candidates. We also request you investigate whether any NRA officials
READ THE FULL TEXT OF THE LETTER HERE