The charges are more serious than just failing to register with FARA.
What she is accused of violating is 18 USC § 951 and 18 USC § 371.
18 U.S. Code § 951 – Agents of foreign governments (relevant sections in bold)
(a) Whoever, other than a diplomatic or consular officer or attaché, acts in the United States as an agent of a foreign government without prior notification to the Attorney General if required in subsection (b), shall be fined under this title or imprisoned not more than ten years, or both.
(b) The Attorney General shall promulgate rules and regulations establishing requirements for notification.
(c) The Attorney General shall, upon receipt, promptly transmit one copy of each notification statement filed under this section to the Secretary of State for such comment and use as the Secretary of State may determine to be appropriate from the point of view of the foreign relations of the United States. Failure of the Attorney General to do so shall not be a bar to prosecution under this section.
(d) For purposes of this section, the term “agent of a foreign government” means an individual who agrees to operate within the United States subject to the direction or control of a foreign government or official, except that such term does not include—
(1) a duly accredited diplomatic or consular officer of a foreign government, who is so recognized by the Department of State;
(2) any officially and publicly acknowledged and sponsored official or representative of a foreign government;
(3) any officially and publicly acknowledged and sponsored member of the staff of, or employee of, an officer, official, or representative described in paragraph (1) or (2), who is not a United States citizen; or
(4) any person engaged in a legal commercial transaction.
(e) Notwithstanding paragraph (d)(4), any person engaged in a legal commercial transaction shall be considered to be an agent of a foreign government for purposes of this section if—
(1) such person agrees to operate within the United States subject to the direction or control of a foreign government or official; and
(2) such person—
(A) is an agent of Cuba or any other country that the President determines (and so reports to the Congress) poses a threat to the national security interest of the United States for purposes of this section, unless the Attorney General, after consultation with the Secretary of State, determines and so reports to the Congress that the national security or foreign policy interests of the United States require that the provisions of this section do not apply in specific circumstances to agents of such country; or
(B) has been convicted of, or has entered a plea of nolo contendere with respect to, any offense under section 792 through 799, 831, or 2381 of this title or under section 11 of the Export Administration Act of 1979, except that the provisions of this subsection shall not apply to a person described in this clause for a period of more than five years beginning on the date of the conviction or the date of entry of the plea of nolo contendere, as the case may be.
If two or more persons conspire either to commit any offense against the United States, or to defraud the United States, or any agency thereof in any manner or for any purpose, and one or more of such persons do any act to effect the object of the conspiracy, each shall be fined under this title or imprisoned not more than five years, or both.
I am not a lawyer. So if someone is and I am wrong about this, please let me know.
The issue, as I understand it, is that Ms. Butina has engaged in activities on behalf of the Russian government that would constitute diplomatic relations without being an official diplomat.
This is where the confusion with FARA took place.
The affidavit sums it up this way:
These are the sections in the affidavit dealing with the NRA:
As I read this, we know that Butina had a previous working relationship with the NRA going as far back at 2012.
Butina was working for a Russian banker who had ties to the Russian government.
It seems that she wanted to use the NRA as way of establishing contacts with Republican politicians to create unofficial channels of diplomacy between these politicians and Russian interests. This was because of the broad reach the NRA has and its support of CPAC.
The important question is what is stated in the third section. Was the NRA acting as a courier of messages or was it just where the contacts were made?
Given all of this, I will still stand by my thesis from my last post.
There was a lot more text in the affidavit that covers the attempt to get Putin a seat at the National Prayer Breakfast than the NRA. I still haven’t seen a single headline that mentions that. It’s all “tied to the NRA.”
This attempt to open unofficial channels of communication between Russians and Republican politicians is still not spying or espionage in any way that I am aware of.
The way the media is pushing this is to imply that the NRA was turned into a Russian asset for the purposes of undermining the US Government.
If there are any patriotic NRA members you must leave the organization.!!!! It is working with Putin
Funneled laundered money thru NRA. Gun running, hacking our election, espionage.
— Meryl Meyer (@MerylMeyer05) July 17, 2018
This is their end game. To destroy the NRA and leave gun owners without any effective lobbying group.
They want to make gun owners toxic.
“If you support the NRA because you support gun rights, clearly you support the Russian takeover of the US government, you traitor.”
Next it will be (mark this date on your calendar so you when I predicted it):
“If you support gun rights you are a Russian agent.”
Whatever comes out in the wash, the media and the Left want this to be the Silver Bullet that slays the NRA and Trump and gun rights.
They will want to make gun control a patriotic, anti-Russian interference, position.
For them, a victory is destroying American’s oldest civil rights organization and the civil right it advocates for and they will slander us the entire time they are doing it.
We’re in for the fight of our lives.