How much of the millions the NRA was handing out was actually Russian money laundered through the NRA?
By Joan McCarter
Daily Kos (9/30/19)
The Russian asset National Rifle Association has been illegally coordinating with Republican senators’ campaigns, according to a complaint filed with the Federal Election Commission.
The nonprofit and nonpartisan organization Campaign Legal Center has filed an FEC complaint alleging the NRA’s coordination with Republican Sen. Ron Johnson of Wisconsin in the 2016 campaign through a shell corporation called Starboard, which illegally funneled potentially millions from the NRA in in-kind contributions. “There is substantial evidence that the NRA funneled millions through a shell corporation to unlawfully coordinate with candidates it was backing,” Brendan Fischer, director of federal reform at the CLC, said. “The NRA using inside information about a candidate’s strategy to create ‘independent’ ads supporting him creates an unfair advantage and it violates the law.”
The NRA’s lobbying organization as well as its PAC had a contract with Starboard to create ads not just in Johnson’s 2016 campaign, but also to help Republicans Tom Cotton, Cory Gardner, and Thom Tillis in 2014. Which means that those three, now running for reelection in 2020, also had illegal help from the NRA in their elections. That’s not much of a problem for Cotton looking ahead because it’s Arkansas. But Colorado and North Carolina are a different ball of wax.
How much of the millions the NRA was laundering through Starboard was actually Russian money laundered through the NRA? It spent a record $55 million on the 2016 elections; $30 million went to Trump, $25 million to other Republicans. That’s the money that it actually had to report, though most of it came from the PAC arm, which doesn’t have to disclose the identities of its donors.
Bottom line: Moscow Mitch McConnell probably owes his Senate majority to Russia and the NRA. That’s not going to play well in 2020.