Talking Points Memo: NRA Acknowledges Receiving Foreign Funds, Moving Money Between Accounts
The National Rifle Association is acknowledging that it accepts donations from foreign entities, and that it moves money between its various accounts “as permitted by law.”
The gun group insists it has never received foreign money in connection with an election. But campaign finance experts say that, since money is fungible, that assurance doesn’t mean much.
“Even if the NRA segregated the foreign money that it received, money is fungible,” Brendan Fischer, a campaign finance expert at the Campaign Legal Center, told TPM. “Foreign money in one account frees up money that can be used for elections in another account.”
“This is a very carefully worded letter that appears designed to give the impression that the NRA does not take foreign money for its election work, but reading between the lines, it does not actually say that,” Fischer added. “The NRA said it did not receive foreign money in connection with the U.S. election. It does not say that foreign money was not used in a U.S. election.”
But other investigative bodies might have access to additional evidence that could determine how Russia or other foreign entities wanted their money to be spent. The FBI is reportedly investigating whether Russian banker and lifetime NRA member Aleksandr Torshin channeled money to the group with the express purpose of helping Donald Trump win the 2016 presidential race.
“Presumably they have emails, correspondence, communications,” said the Campaign Legal Center’s Fischer.