December 13, 2018 — Giffords, the gun violence prevention organization founded by former Representative Gabrielle Giffords and her husband, Captain Mark Kelly, released the following statement in reaction to the guilty plea of Russian national Maria Butina today in federal court. Butina admitted to acting as a foreign agent to influence American politics on behalf of the Russian government. Butina, as part of her plea agreement, told Judge Tanya Chutkan of the U.S. District Court of Washington that her activities were part of a coordinated effort to establish unofficial lines of communication between leading conservative groups, including the National Rifle Association (NRA), and Russia.
Peter Ambler, Giffords Executive Director:
“Today, an NRA-linked Russian gun-rights activist came clean about her illegal work as a Russian agent. Will NRA executives be straight with the American people about what they knew? Because it’s become clear that in a blind pursuit of power at any cost, the NRA has become out of touch with the American gun owners they claim are the bedrock of the organization. Serious questions remain about who the gun lobby really represents. The NRA can’t wish away today’s news. What they can do is finally tell their membership, and the American people, the truth about their relationship with Russian interests and to what extent the NRA is funded by Russian money.”