Senate GOP Report: Democrat Conclusions on NRA, Russia Travel Are ‘Meritless’

FILE- In this March 7, 2012 file photo, Illinois gun owners and supporters file out National Rifle Association applications while participating in an Illinois Gun Owners Lobby Day convention before marching to the Illinois state Capitol in Springfield, Ill. The troubled teen authorities say killed several people at a Florida …
AP Photo/Seth Perlman

Senate Finance Committee Republicans and Democrats released rival reports late last week about the NRA and alleged connections to Russia; Republicans have concluded there is nothing there, and Democrats have concluded there is something.

Two Senate reports about the NRA and Russia have been published and circulated. One is the majority staff report, put together by the Senate GOP majority’s committee team, and the second is a minority report put together by the Democrat minority’s committee team. The establishment media are using the minority report to try to raise questions about the NRA over Russia relations.

Democrats are focusing on the NRA’s tax-exempt status, using the minority report; it alleges malfeasance regarding a December 2015 trip in which NRA officials traveled to Russia. But Senate Finance Committee Republicans in their own report conclude the Democrats’ allegations are “meritless.”

NPR quotes the Democrat report in a column that mentions preparations for the trip and then the trip itself, before finally suggesting:

Tax-exempt organizations are barred from using funds for the personal benefit of its officials or for actions significantly outside their stated missions. The revelations in the Senate report raise questions about whether the NRA could face civil penalties or lose its tax-exempt status.

But the GOP report debunks the intimations against the NRA’s tax-exempt status, and it does so by showing the Democrats’ claims have no merit.

The Majority Staff Report states:

The Minority report concludes that NRA members’ travel to Russia in 2015 and meeting with Russian officials “raises concerns about whether the activity in which the NRA, its officers, and board members engaged were in furtherance of the organization’s exempt purpose.” It also concludes that NRA officials’ possibly having met with sanctioned individuals “raise significant concerns under U.S. sanctions law.”

The GOP report then describes both Democrat conclusions as “meritless.”

Moreover, the GOP report notes that “reviewable evidence” does not in any way endanger the NRA’s tax-exempt status. Quite the opposite, the Republican report suggests the Democrats’ claims are largely based on “innuendo.”

The Majority Staff Report concludes, “In the end, the Minority report contains much conclusory innuendo about an organization, the NRA, and repeatedly attempts to paint a picture that does not exist. The Minority report uses terms like ‘raises concerns’ in an attempt to embarrass the NRA while absolving the Minority from having to assert any serious factual or legal analysis. The Minority report exaggerates several details while omitting or downplaying mitigating facts. The Minority report states, on several occasions, that it was unable to establish many assertions that it purports to make. In the Minority report, statements like these are often inserted at the end of a section, left without any analysis or elaboration. Glossing over such facts just because they are damning to a narrative does not mean they do not exist. Despite this, the Minority report seeks to use this report as justification for a compulsory audit of the NRA in order to conduct yet another fishing expedition for wrongdoing. Therefore, the Majority finds that the facts do not support the Minority’s narrative or conclusions.”

AWR Hawkins is an award-winning Second Amendment columnist for Breitbart News and the writer/curator of Down Range with AWR Hawkins, a weekly newsletter focused on all things Second Amendment, also for Breitbart News. He is the political analyst for Armed American Radio. Follow him on Twitter: @AWRHawkins. Reach him directly at awrhawkins@breitbart.com. Sign up to get Down Range at breitbart.com/downrange.

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