Psssst! Have you heard the latest? No? It turns out that Wayne LaPierre and Chris Cox are really — get this — secret Russian agents! No, really! They conspired with shadowy Putin-connected Russkis to elect Donald Trump. And we only know this because the NRA finally admitted it!
That’s the tenor of a recent story by the Woodward and Bernstein wannabes at National Public Radio (your tax dollars at work). They’ve been trying to pump a supposed NRA-Russia collusion narrative for months now. It’s been hopelessly convoluted and hard to follow (Everytown for Gun Safety has helpfully tried to make it clearer for you), mostly because there’s virtually no evidence that anything untoward ever happened.
But now, the intrepid NPR scribes and their other media pals have gotten their ink-stained little hands on a document — an actual document! — that proves what NPR and Everytown have been claiming all along.
To try to put this ludicrous narrative to bed, the NRA did something rather unprecedented. They sent Oregon Senator Ron Wydern — a NRA/Russia conspiracy theorist — information about some of their members. And the details reveal the true depth and breadth of this nefarious, unholy alliance and how much Russian funding has poured into the NRA, one of Trump’s most loyal front groups!
As The Federalist’s David Harsanyi writes:
This document (also known as a “letter”) prompted headlines that ranged from “The NRA received donations from Russian nationals” to “NRA discloses additional contributions from Russian donors.” All of which probably sounded pretty damning to anyone who didn’t read past a headline. Those who did, on the other hand, would soon learn that Russian “nationals” meant 23 “Russian-linked” individuals — some of them Americans citizens living in Russia — who had contributed around $2,300 total, mostly in membership dues, over three years’ time. Approximately $525 of that sum came from “two individuals who made contributions to the NRA.”
That’s right. These shadowy “contributions” from “Russian donors” are also known as membership dues. Many of which were apparently paid by Americans (who happen to ive in Russia). In NPR’s fever dreams, that total of $525 is what now qualifies as massive Russia-directed influence exerted over the evil NRA.
The idea that this kind story is worth publishing, much less framing in a conspiratorial, gotcha light, as many news outlets did, would be puzzling in any other era of journalism. Today, even though there’s no evidence of illegality (it’s unlawful for the NRA’s political shop to accept foreign contributions, not for the organization to have members in other nations), or for that matter, even any proof that substantial legal monies had changed hands, the stories still intimated wrongdoing.
Here’s how pervasive and intertwined the sub rosa relationship was between the Russians and America’s biggest gun-promotion racket:
As it turns out, there were a couple dozen, out of millions of members and donations over the past three years.
That’s right…$525 out of an estimated total of $250 million in annual dues How could the NRA brass possibly refuse to do the Russians’ bidding after a massive cash infusion like that?
The NRA does itself no favors answering politically motivated questions in the first place. Because Wyden, who apparently subscribes to The New York Times’ notion that defending your rights just makes you seem guilty, told ABC News that he is now considering “additional oversight actions.” Why? One imagines, because the NRA didn’t come back with an answer that implicated itself in shady behavior. Which is how an open-ended smear works.
Never mind that there’s zero evidence of any connection between Russia and the NRA. Or that the minuscule amount of cash the NRA took in dues couldn’t have exerted any influence on them in any conceivable way. The seriousness of the charge mandates further investigation.
In other words, Wyden and his complicit stenographers at NPR will continue to fan the flames of alleged conspiracy because it furthers two goals. First, it smears the hated National Rifle Association, which everyone knows has blood on its hands. Second, it keeps the Trump-Russia collusion narrative alive, if only in the minds of low information media consumers. Even though there’s apparently no there there. And never has been.