Bridges LLC at center of Senate investigation

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SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (KELO) — A federal report says the National Rifle Association’s non-profit status could be in jeopardy because of a $6,000 payment funneled through a South Dakota company.

That company is Bridges LLC, which KELOLAND Investigates first told you about back in December of 2017. It was started by Russian agent Maria Butina and her then boyfriend, GOP political operative Paul Erickson.

According to the Secretary of State’s web site, Bridges LLC was housed in this office building in Sioux Falls, but up until now, we never knew what kind of business Bridges LLC was operating.

But after an 18-month long investigation, the Democrats on the U.S. Senate Finance Committee released a report which says the NRA may have violated tax laws by funneling that money through Bridges LLC to pay for a 2015 trip to Moscow.

Butina and Erickson organized a 2015 trip to Russia. According to the report, they brought NRA leaders to to meet with senior Russian government officials, tour arms manufacturing companies and meet with Butina’s pro-firearms Russian organization “Right to Bear Arms.”

Democrats say that money was moved between different organizations to allegedly get it off the NRA’s financial reports once Congress began investigating. Butina is in federal prison in Florida, finishing up an 18-month sentence for working as an unregistered agent in the U.S. Butina is expected to be released next month.

To see the full report and a response from Republicans, check out this Original. There, you can go through hundreds of emails and other documents, plus follow the money in an interactive way.

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