Paul Erickson charged with 11 felonies including money laundering, wire fraud. Ostensibly unrelated to the Butina probe but I mean, come on. https://t.co/IpyVYqMCP1
— Zeddy (@Zeddary) February 7, 2019
Another two-bit grifter who’d still be safely under the radar if only Trump hadn’t been inserted into the White House by a foreign power:
… Paul Erickson became the subject of public interest after his girlfriend, Maria Butina, was charged last year and pleaded guilty to conspiring with a senior Russian official to infiltrate American conservative political circles as an undeclared agent for the Kremlin…
As part of that plea, Butina admitted to working with an American political operative to forge connections with officials at the National Rifle Association, conservative leaders and 2016 presidential candidates, including Donald Trump.
The political operative has been identified by government officials as Erickson, a longtime GOP political adviser from South Dakota, who managed the 1992 presidential campaign of Pat Buchanan. Erickson’s lawyer, William Hurd, has said he is a “good American” who “has never done anything to hurt our country and never would.”…
One of the money transfers listed in the indictment as an instance of money laundering is a $20,472 payment Erickson made in June 2017 to American University — the school Butina attended…
Didn’t have a chance to post this earlier, but it would seem relevant. From the NYTimes, “N.R.A. Seeks Distance From Russia as Investigations Heat Up”:
When a delegation of high-profile donors, boosters and board members from the National Rifle Association traveled to Russia in 2015, they visited a gun factory in Moscow, took in a ballet and met with members of Vladimir Putin’s inner circle.
But now the N.R.A. is seeking to distance itself from the trip, after revelations that a Russian woman who helped arrange it, Maria Butina, was conspiring to infiltrate the organization.
The trip has been a subject of scrutiny in at least four inquiries into the N.R.A.’s ties to Russia; questions about the N.R.A. have also surfaced in the investigation by the special counsel, Robert S. Mueller III. Newly empowered congressional Democrats are now stepping up efforts to uncover how much money the N.R.A. received from Russia, and whether the group served as a conduit for Russian funds into the 2016 Trump campaign…
The trip was organized by David Keene, a former N.R.A. president who was close to Ms. Butina, and who had his own interests in Russia. An email between a member of the delegation and Paul Erickson, a Republican operative who is Ms. Butina’s boyfriend, suggests that Mr. Keene, who was then the opinion editor of The Washington Times, hoped to secure an interview with Vladimir V. Putin, the Russian president, according to people familiar with the email. Mr. Keene also later explored a deal to import Russian gas with Ms. Butina’s help, though it never appeared close to fruition…
Also along for the Russia trip were Joseph R. Gregory, co-chairman of the N.R.A.’s Golden Ring of Freedom, a group for donors of $1 million or more; and Pete Brownell, then the organization’s first vice president, who would later become president.
A critical question for investigators is the extent of the N.R.A.’s financial ties to Russia. While the N.R.A. has turned over thousands of pages of records in the Senate inquiries, those documents do not include the organization’s closely held donor records; it is possible, however, that federal investigators have obtained the organization’s tax records from the Internal Revenue Service…
Be some kind of karmic justice if this foreign-espionage investigation is what exposes today’s NRA as a classic mail-order address-scraping con targeting gun-hoarders and xenophobes, yes?
The Daily Beast has more details about Erickson’s other, non-NRA grifting of fellow conservatives:
This genius wrote a note to himself that basically said “Let Russia know about that spying job offer.”
I’m lightly paraphrasing but only for effect. This idiot literally jotted down his espionage to-do’s.
— The Hoarse Whisperer (@HoarseWisperer) February 7, 2019
You have to understand that these are real people. Not two-dimensional cartoon characters who limit themselves to just one scheme. Everyone in Trumpworld contains MULTITUDES of crimes pic.twitter.com/6Le3uFf1mR
— Zeddy (@Zeddary) February 7, 2019