House

Dems probing whether NRA made illegal contributions to Trump

A pair of Democratic lawmakers are probing whether the National Rifle Association (NRA) violated campaign finance laws by coordinating communications with President Trump's 2016 campaign and other GOP campaigns.

Rep. Jamie Raskin (D-Md.) and Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse (D-R.I.) wrote in a letter to NRA CEO Wayne LaPierre that media companies the NRA reportedly used to purchase political ads were also employed by the Trump campaign and other Republicans.

"The relationship between the firms the NRA employed and the firms the Trump Campaign and other Republican candidates used suggests illegal coordination," they wrote in the letter dated Wednesday.

The letter notes that "the NRA spent over $50 million on 'independent' expenditures" that supported Republican candidates, including Trump, during the 2016 election.

The Democratic lawmakers are requesting a series of documents from the NRA by March 6, including emails with five media consulting firms and the names of employees they communicated with at the companies.

They separately noted in letters to the companies that "a payment for a coordinated communication is an in-kind contribution to a candidate," adding, "the NRA may have violated contribution limits under the Federal Election Campaign Act by making coordinated communications in excess of applicable contribution caps."

The NRA did not immediately respond to a request for comment from The Hill on Thursday.

House Democrats have previously indicated their interest in looking into ties between the NRA, Russia and the 2016 presidential election. 

"We know that the NRA spent a historic amount of money on the 2016 elections to help not just Donald Trump get elected but also a number of senators and members of Congress. We want to know where that money came from," Rep. Ted Lieu (D-Calif.) said in December.

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