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under the microscope

NRA says foreign donations don't fund election work — but admits money moves between accounts

The National Rifle Association on Tuesday acknowledged that it "accepts foreign donations," but said that those donations don't go toward election work, NPR reports. All of the money is raised and spent "within the bounds of the law," the gun rights advocacy organization insisted in a letter sent to Sen. Ron Wyden (D-Ore.), the ranking member of the Senate Finance Committee.

Federal investigators are looking into what role the NRA played, if any, in Russia's interference in the 2016 presidential election. NPR reports that Wyden sent a letter to the NRA earlier this month, asking for clarity in whether the NRA has ever received contributions from foreign entities or individuals.

"While we do receive some contributions from foreign individuals and entities, those contributions are made directly to the NRA for lawful purposes," the NRA's general counsel John C. Frazer responded, in a letter obtained by NPR. "Our review of our records has found no foreign donations in connection with a United States election, either directly or through a conduit."

However, NPR notes, the NRA also acknowledged that it moves money between its political work account and other, less regulated accounts. The NRA wrote that transfers are made "as permitted by law," but it is near impossible to track exactly how donations to the organization are spent.

The NRA has been under increased scrutiny since a McClatchy report revealed that the FBI is investigating whether a top Russian banker funneled money to the gun advocacy group to lobby for President Trump. The NRA told Wyden that none of its foreign donations were "connected with Russia." Read more at NPR.