Maria Butina

Senate Finance Democrats say NRA acted as Russian asset in 2016 lead-up

The headquarters of the NRA, with the letters NRA written on top of the building.
Photo: Matt McClain for The Washington Post via Getty Images

Democrats on the Senate Finance Committee say the National Rifle Association acted as a Russian asset during the lead-up to the 2016 presidential election, offering the promise of political access to elected officials in the U.S. in exchange for business deals, per the findings of an 18-month investigation.

Why it matters: Tax-exempt organizations are barred from using funds for the personal benefit of their officials, or for actions significantly outside their stated missions. The revelations in the report raise questions about whether the NRA could face civil penalties or the loss of its tax-exempt status.

Overstock CEO resigns due to romantic involvement with Russian agent

overstock ceo
Overstock CEO Patrick Byrne. Photo: Steven Ferdman/Getty Images

Patrick Byrne resigned as CEO of online retailer Overstock.com Thursday after the company publicly announced his relationship with admitted Russian agent Maria Butina, the New York Times reports.

The big picture: Writing in a letter to shareholders, Byrne said his disclosure "may affect and complicate all manner of business relationships." The relationship lasted from 2015 to 2018 and was mostly unknown until Overstock posted a news release last week. Byrne was involved in the federal inquiry into the 2016 presidential election that was handled separately from special counsel Robert Mueller's investigation into Russian interference. He said he had helped law enforcement agents with their "Clinton Investigation" and "Russia Investigation," per NYT.