Mother Jones reports that the National Rifle Association appears to have illegally coordinated its political advertising with Republican candidates in at least three recent US Senate races, based upon Federal Communications Commission records.
Ads run by the NRA in Missouri, Montana, and North Carolina were placed by the same media consultant that the candidates used themselves, despite the pretense that they were conducted "independently." This subterfuge essentially allows billionaires and corporations to give candidates unlimited amounts of money in violation of limits imposed on direct contributions to candidates.
The ploy might also have allowed foreign interests, such as Russian oligarchs, to spend funds influencing US elections. Maria Butina has plead guilty to infiltrating the NRA on behalf of the Russian government. The NRA saw a massive spike in its revenue, from unknown sources, during the 2016 election cycle. It was cultivating relationships with several wealthy russians during the same period.
If Republican Senate leader Mitch McConnell is at all nervous that his senate colleagues were elected with the help if illegal activity by the NRA, perhaps funded by foreign interests, he might be reluctant to protect Robert Mueller's special counsel investigation into foreign influence in US elections. Which, might explain why he's refused to allow a bill to protect Mueller to come to a vote in the Senate.
Photo credit: the Backbone Campaign