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NRA accepted donations from 20 Russian-linked contributors

The Hill logo The Hill 4/11/2018 Max Greenwood

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The National Rifle Association (NRA) disclosed in a letter to Sen. Ron Wyden (D-Ore.) this week that it received contributions from 23 individuals with links to Russia since 2015.

The letter, dated Tuesday and made public on Wednesday, stated that the gun rights group received just over $2,500 from those individuals, and that most of the money was from "routine payments," like membership fees. Some of the payments may have come from Americans living in Russia, the NRA noted.

Roughly $525 came from "two individuals who made contributions to the NRA," NRA general counsel John Frazer wrote in the letter, which was first reported Wednesday by NPR.

The NRA's acknowledgement that it received payments from 23 individuals signals a sharp increase from the group's previous disclosures. An outside counsel for the NRA told ABC News in an interview last month that the group received just one contribution from a Russian individual between 2012 and 2018.

Frazer in this week's letter also addressed payments to the NRA made by Alexander Torshin, a Russian politician and the deputy of the country's central bank. He said Torshin has been a life member of the group since 2012, and has paid membership dues, but has not made any additional contributions.

Torshin is among the Russian officials named in new U.S. sanctions imposed last week. Frazer said the NRA is now "reviewing our responsibilities with respect to him."

McClatchy D.C. reported in January that the FBI was investigating whether Torshin sought to funnel money to the NRA to help President Trump win the 2016 election.

Wyden has questioned the NRA for months about possible connections to Russia. Frazer said in the letter to the senator that the organization would stop providing information on the matter.

"Given the extraordinarily time-consuming and burdensome nature of your requests, we must respectfully decline to engage in this beyond the clear answers we have already provided," he wrote.

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