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Is Barbara Comstock A(n Unwitting) Russian Dupe? Past Time to Openly Ask …

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by A. Siegel

I am old enough to remember when I wouldn’t have considered questioning whether major U.S.political leaders were patriotic. Although I often had significant disagreements on policies, I simply cannot recall ever questioning politicians’ basic loyalty to the nation (although certainly I wondered, as in the case of Richard Nixon, about fidelity to the law, Constitution, ethics…).

Today, Donald Trump and the GOP #CultOfTrump have succeeded in changing that. With a high — and growing — percentage of Republicans expressing higher confidence in Vladimir Putin than in the FBI and U.S. intelligence community; stating that the United States should leave NATO; supporting Trump’s treasonous activities; etc.; there are abundant reasons to question whether the Republican Party has any claim to patriotism at this point.

There are many “core” Republican constituencies, among which are the most radical elements of American gun owners, as represented by the revanchist National Rifle Association (NRA).  Yes, I’m talking about the same NRA that is clearly embroiled with a Russian agent who was sleeping her way into GOP elite circles.  This is also the NRA that reportedly has taken tens of millions of dollars from Russia [see note], while that same NRA was plowing tens of millions of dollars into Republican campaign coffers (note: the NRA spent at least $55m to influence the 2016 election on behalf of Donald Trump and other Republicans). There is now, as far as I can tell, no serious question that the NRA money was/is tainted. The question truly before us (the U.S. and U.S. voters), then, is: How do those tainted contributions stain the recipients? And, what – if anything – can the recipients do to remove the stain?

For the moment, regarding the “stain the recipients” point, it seems a reasonable conclusion that any recipient of NRA largess should be viewed as knowingly in receipt of money from Russian intelligence. As to “removing the stain,” the only responsible action by these folks would be to remove those funds from campaign coffers and turn that Russian money to good use in U.S. society (anything from donating to gun victims’ funds to police charities to school construction funds …).

VA-10’s Barbara Comstock is a classic case on this issue. Why? Because Comstock is one of the largest recipients of NRA largess — over $137,000 from the NRA in her campaign coffers.

To date, have you heard a word from Comstock regarding news reports on the NRA’s links to Russian intelligence? Perhaps at one of Comstock’s numerous (non-existent) town halls, you had (not) the chance to hear her speak about the NRA’s outrageous and (almost certainly) illegal activities working with/for Russia to undermine the integrity of the U.S. electoral process. At that same (non-existent) town hall, you perhaps (did not have the chance to) congratulate Comstock for (not) contributing that $137,000 to put benches in VA10 parks or …

Any politician sitting on NRA cash legitimately raises the question: Are you for America or Russia?

Simply put, until Comstock takes action to remove the tainted NRA money from her campaign coffers, reasonable people have no other option but to conclude that she is knowingly in collusion with those who put Russian interests before America and Americans.

 

NOTE: While the FBI is reportedly investigating whether Torshin illegally moved funds to the NRA, the NRA denies that it receives funds from Russia for election purposes.