NRA Accused of ‘Elaborate Scheme’ to Evade Campaign Finance Law

The Trace

A new complaint filed with the Federal Election Commission accuses the National Rifle Association and GOP Missouri Senate candidate Josh Hawley of engaging in “an elaborate scheme designed to evade detection” of campaign finance violations.

The complaint from the Campaign Legal Center, a nonpartisan watchdog, and Giffords, a gun-violence prevention group, raises questions about whether Republican campaign contractors and vendors are facilitating hidden coordination between campaigns and the outside groups that support them. The complaint is the third in four months to accuse the NRA of appearing to use a shell company to circumvent laws against such coordination.

The complaints are based in part on an ongoing investigation by The Trace showing that the NRA’s exclusive political advertising consultant, Starboard Strategic, may be functioning as a front for the prominent conservative political consulting firm OnMessage Inc. (Mother Jones and The Trace have teamed up  to further investigate the NRA’s finances and political activity.) Starboard Strategic has received more than $60 million from the NRA since 2013.

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