Sen. Ron Wyden, D-Ore., wants Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin to turn over documents to the Senate Finance Committee on any financial ties between the National Rifle Association and Russian officials.
Wyden, the top Democrat on the Senate Finance Committee, sent Mnuchin a letter Friday requesting the documents. The Oregon Democrat specifically wants information related to Alexander Torshin, the deputy governor of Russia’s central bank, or other Russian officials.
Torshin, who has close ties to Russian President Vladimir Putin, is reportedly a lifetime member of the NRA.
“According to news reports, the FBI is investigating whether Alexander Torshin, a Russian official with close ties to President Vladimir Putin — who has reported links to money laundering — inappropriately and illegally influenced our election,” Wyden wrote. “The national security as well as legal implications of these reports make it imperative that Congress conduct a thorough investigation.”
After the news reports regarding links between Russian official Alexander Torshin and the @NRA, I'm requesting financial information from the NRA and @Stevenmnuchin1 @USTreasury. #FollowTheMoney pic.twitter.com/3ujacub1YX— Ron Wyden (@RonWyden) February 2, 2018
Wyden wants the Treasury Department to include documents tied to shell companies or “other illicit funding mechanisms suspected of being connected to these reported links.”
The Democratic senator also sent a letter to the NRA asking it provide documents related to any money the gun rights group's related organizations may have received from Russian officials and businesses.
“I write to you today as the committee’s ranking member with concerns about recent news reports indicating that your organization could have been used by Russian individuals and/or entities to funnel foreign contributions into the 2016 election,” Wyden said in his letter to NRA treasurer Wilson Phillips Jr.
The FBI has been investigating whether Torshin funneled money to the NRA in an effort to assist Trump during the 2016 campaign, McClatchy reported last month.
During testimony before the House Intelligence Committee in November, Fusion GPS co-founder Glenn Simpson told lawmakers the Russians “infiltrated the NRA.”
“It appears that the Russian operation was designed to infiltrate conservative organizations,” Simpson said. “And they targeted various conservative organizations, religious and otherwise, and they seem to have made a very concerted effort to get in with the NRA.”
Simpson said Fusion GPS, a research firm, “spent a lot of time” looking into Torshin.