Legal experts say it’s likely special counsel Robert Mueller secretly gained access to the National Rifle Association’s tax returns as part of the investigation into Russian meddling in the 2016 election, according to a McClatchy report.
Mueller’s team is reportedly looking into NRA donors with links to Russia and investigating whether some donors used the organization to illegally funnel foreign money to President Trump’s campaign.
The NRA spent $30 million backing Trump in the 2016 presidential election.
NRA officials maintain that the organization has not been contacted by the FBI, but legal experts told McClatchy D.C. that it would be “routine” for investigators to access the group’s tax filings through the Internal Revenue Service.
The tax filings would reveal the NRA’s “dark money” donors, whose names are hidden on public documents.
David Axelrod, an Ohio lawyer who formerly prosecuted cases for the Justice Department’s Tax Division, told McClatchy D.C. that prosecutors often request tax filings “entirely in the background, with no notice to the subject of the investigation.”
Former senior Justice Department official Michael Zeldin told McClatchy that “it would be basic blocking and tackling for the prosecutors to seek all relevant tax returns.”
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