Making use of foreign money to help a presidential election is a big no-no…and now it looks as though the FBI is looking into whether or not the Trump campaign did just that, with the help of the National Rifle Association.
According to a McClatchy report, the FBI is targeting the NRA as a potential pass-through entity for foreign dark money that may have made its way into the president’s campaign coffers. Investigators are honed in on a Russian national named Alexander Torshin — the deputy governor of Russia’s central bank — as a key figure in their investigation given his close ties with both Vladimir Putin and the NRA.
While the FBI is looking into any potential funny business, it’s important to note that there has not yet been a solid accounting of any specific money changing hands as of yet.
The extent to which the FBI has evidence of money flowing from Torshin to the NRA, or of the NRA’s participation in the transfer of funds, could not be learned.
However, the NRA reported spending a record $55 million on the 2016 elections, including $30 million to support Trump – triple what the group devoted to backing Republican Mitt Romney in the 2012 presidential race. Most of that was money was spent by an arm of the NRA that is not required to disclose its donors.
Still, the fact that the FBI is honing in on the NRA as a potential front for Russian money flowing into the 2016 election is likely causing concern for Republicans. After all, whose to say that Trump was the only one to get outside help in 2016?
The NRA is a prolific donor for a number of GOP candidates. The deeper the FBI and the special counsel look at the president, the closer they seem to be getting to RNC as a whole.
That said, one can almost certainly predict new attacks from Republicans in the wake of this new reporting to try to discredit the FBI’s investigation.