WASHINGTON — A U.S. senator asked the National Rifle Association on Tuesday to turn over detailed internal records about foreign funding it received in the past three years and how it spent that money, including whether any of it went toward influencing American elections, according to a copy of the letter delivered to the powerful gun group’s top lawyer.
Sen. Ron Wyden, the ranking Democrat on the Senate Finance Committee, released his request a week after NRA general counsel John Frazer acknowledged that the tax-exempt nonprofit receive some foreign funding.
Frazer said in a March 19 letter to Wyden’s office that while some of that money was transferred between NRA accounts, none of it has gone toward influencing U.S. elections or political campaigns.
Under U.S. law, foreign entities aren’t allowed to influence U.S. elections.
Wyden also asked for more information, including internal metrics, about foreign money used by the NRA for media campaigns or other efforts that were consumed by the public.
The back-and-forth comes after McClatchy, citing anonymous sources, reported in January that federal investigators were probing whether an ally of Russia’s president gave to the group to support Donald Trump’s 2016 presidential campaign.
That prompted a left-leaning advocacy group to file a complaint with the Federal Election Commission.
The Associated Press has not confirmed the McClatchy report.
The NRA did not immediately respond to a message seeking comment Tuesday on Wyden’s letter. In his response to Wyden last week, Frazer said the NRA “has strong policies and practices to ensure that we raise and spend our funds within the bounds of the law.”
Trump campaigned as an advocate for gun owners’ rights and the group poured some $30 million into his campaign.
Congressional investigators determined that Donald Trump Jr. met with a Russian government official at the group’s 2016 annual meeting but “found no evidence that the two discussed the U.S. presidential election,” according to the House Intelligence Committee’s report.