REVEALED: Mueller Team Likely Gained Access To NRA Tax Filings, Secret Donors
According to a new report by McClatchy D.C. Bureau, it’s likely special counsel Robert Mueller secretly gained access to the National Rifle Association’s tax returns as part of the investigation into Russian meddling in the 2016 election.
Citing a group of legal experts, McClatchy D.C. reports that Mueller’s team is looking into NRA donors with links to Russia and investigating whether some donors used the organization to illegally funnel foreign money to President Trump’s campaign.
The NRA spent $30 million backing Trump in the 2016 presidential election.
NRA officials maintain that the organization has not been contacted by the FBI, but legal experts told the publication that it would be “routine” for investigators to access the group’s tax filings through the Internal Revenue Service.
The tax filings would reveal the NRA’s “dark money” donors, whose names are hidden on public documents.
David Axelrod, an Ohio lawyer who formerly prosecuted cases for the Justice Department’s Tax Division, told McClatchy D.C. that prosecutors often request tax filings “entirely in the background, with no notice to the subject of the investigation.”
Former senior Justice Department official Michael Zeldin told McClatchy that “it would be basic blocking and tackling for the prosecutors to seek all relevant tax returns.”
The NRA disclosed in April that it received thousands in contributions from 23 Russia-linked individuals since 2015. McClatchy reported earlier this year that the FBI was looking into whether one of those donors, Alexander Torshin, used the NRA to funnel money to the Trump campaign.
Torshin is a Russian politician and deputy of the country’s central bank.
He has ties to former NRA President David Keene and hosted him for a pro-gun conference in Russia.
Torshin has previously claimed that his connections to NRA have given him access to the president.
Mueller’s office declined to comment for McClatchy’s report.
The NRA did not respond to a Political Dig request for comment.