One of my pet peeves is that newspapers will publish stories about some court opinion or other public document, but not provide any link to the documents themselves. As a consequence, readers will walk away with only the reporter’s view of why the document was of significance, which view is likely further circumscribed by an editor who is hard put to limit the amount of information in the story due to space considerations.
Sen. Ron Wyden sent a letter to the NRA. His letter was prompted by his interest in determining “the possibility that Russian-backed shell companies or intermediaries may have circumvented laws designed to prohibit foreign meddling in our elections by abusing the rules governing 501(c)(4) tax exempt organizations.” Sen. Wyden asked for material relating to four specific areas of inquiry. He received from the NRA only a partial response to the four specific requests. I have posted, as a single file, Sen. Wyden’s letter and the NRA’s response with my markups.
The response is, at best, an attempt to deflect the inquiry. For instance, the NRA was asked:
- To “identify any remuneration, transaction, or contribution that involved any of the 501(c)(4) entities associated with your organization and any entity or individual associated with any Russian official, Russian national, or Russian business interest.” The NRA simply ignored that request; and
- To provide “all documents related to any remuneration, transaction, or contribution” and to identify all such documents that “have already been turned over to United States authorities.” Both requests were ignored.
Without being specific, the NRA assured Wyden that it always complied with federal election laws. Ultimately, it offered this: “As a longstanding policy to comply with federal election law, the NRA and its related entities do not accept funds from foreign persons or entities in connection with United States elections.” (Emphasis supplied.)
In other words, the NRA did not deny that it was, in terms of its lobbying and “educational” efforts, a mouthpiece of the Russians, but merely that Russian cash had not found its way into any direct political contribution fund.
Nothing to see here.