Lawsuit: NRA illegally funded Trump, other GOP candidates

A federal lawsuit accuses the National Rifle Association of violating campaign finance laws by using shell companies to illegally funnel up to $35 million to Republican candidates, including former President Donald Trump, Sen. Josh Hawley of Missouri and others.

The Campaign Legal Center filed the lawsuit Tuesday in Washington on behalf of Giffords, a gun control nonprofit founded by former Democratic U.S. Rep. Gabby Giffords. It accuses the NRA of practices dating to 2014 “to evade campaign finance regulations by using a series of shell corporations to illegally but surreptitiously coordinate advertising with at least seven candidates for federal office.”

The lawsuit names as defendants Hawley and U.S. Rep. Matt Rosendale of Montana, but the text of the lawsuit also accuses the NRA of “excessive and unreported in-kind contributions” to the campaigns of Trump and Republican Sens. Thom Tillis of North Carolina, Ron Johnson of Wisconsin, Tom Cotton of Arkansas and former Sen. Cory Gardner of Colorado. The contributions to Rosendale were during his unsuccessful 2018 Senate campaign, according to the lawsuit.

Trump’s 2016 campaign received up to $25 million as part of the scheme, the lawsuit states.

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