Senator Ron Wyden Exposes National Rifle Association as a “Foreign Asset” to Russia; NRA Moscow Trip Engaged Primarily in Business Interest and Not Advancing Non-Profit’s Purpose
Oregon Senator Ron Wyden released a report revealing that the National Rifle Association acted as a “foreign asset” for Russia in the months prior to the 2016 United States election. Ceasefire Oregon thanks Senator Wyden and the Senate Finance Committee for this investigation and report, and for his call for a broader review of NRA’s activities to determine if the NRA has engaged in a persistent pattern of impermissible conduct.
The report by the Democratic staff calls into question the NRA’s support for two sanctioned Russian nationals, Maria Butina and Alexander Torshin, in their attempt “to subvert Western democracies and malicious cyber activities.” The report further raises concerns that the NRA officers and board members were engaged in activity with the intent not to further the organization’s purpose but instead “primarily or solely for the purpose of advancing personal business interests, rather than advancing the NRA’s tax-exempt purpose.”
According to the NRA Foundation website, it is a “tax-exempt organization” created to “[provide] a means to raise millions of dollars to fund gun safety and educational projects of benefit to the general public.” Clearly, subverting democracy and engaging in malicious cyber activities are illegal actions not within the NRA Foundation’s stated mission of gun safety and educational projects.
Ceasefire Oregon’s Executive Director Penny Okamoto stated, “The NRA Foundation has long used its self-described power as ‘a major political force’ to oppose gun violence prevention legislation at the state and federal levels. Senator Wyden’s report reveals that the NRA has been using its ‘political force’ to act as a Russian asset rather than in the best interests of the people of the United States.” Okamoto continued, “The NRA must not be allowed to continue to put their business interests ahead of the lives of our families and of our democracy.”
Senator Wyden has initiated a further inquiry and the Democratic minority staff will continue to review the findings from that investigation.