Paul Erickson

“Abramoff and his brother Robert also apparently brokered Erickson’s consultancy with John Wayne Bobbitt, the severed-penis late-night punchline who went on to pursue a career in the adult film industry.

The Butina-Erickson partnership may provide something of a skeleton key to the whole corrupt and lobbying-infested labyrinth of the 2016 Trump campaign.

Given Donald Trump’s own well-documented dalliances with adult-industry figures, the Bobbitt-Erickson connection has soaked up a good deal of salacious attention. But Abramoff’s sordid South African career is what should prompt national political reporters to, uh, prick up their ears. For the little we know of Erickson’s alleged role as Butina’s stateside handler—his creation of a dummy LLC to fund her D.C. activities, his deft cultivation of the National Rifle Association as a cut-out channel for communications between Russia and the Trump campaign, his evident assistance in Butina’s efforts to court American evangelical support—all comes straight out of the Abramoff South Africa playbook.”

NRA leader, Jack Abramoff and GOP operative tied to alleged Russian spy Maria Butina have long history as foreign agents lobbying together Open Secrets By

December 10, 2018 “Keene’s history as a foreign agent

Amidst all of the buzz surrounding his ties to alleged Russian agent Maria Butina, NRA board member and former NRA president David Keene took a different approach, registering as a foreign agent representing the interests of the government of Algeria.

Unlike Butina and Erickson, who are alleged to be Russian agents under Section 951, Keene has now registered as a foreign agent under FARA.

This is hardly the first time Keene has had a hand in foreign influence operations.

Keene kicked off his first registered foreign lobbying and influence shop, Keene, Shirley & Associates, in 1987 by inking a $60,000-per-year contract with the National Farmers’ Federation of Australia before signing on to represent Nicaraguan interests the following year. The firm’s board of directorsincluded Keene’s wife, Diana, and another political consultant named Craigan Shirley.

Perhaps most well-known is Keene’s lobbying for Nigeria and Algeria — which was disclosed under the Lobbying Disclosure Act. Keene went on to lobby for a broad array of interests, including the World Wrestling Federation.

Now David Keene has again registered as a foreign agent, according to FARA filings made available through CRP’s Foreign Lobby Watch tool.

Outlining the terms of their $360,000 lobbying agreement, Algeria’s government issued a cheeky press release titled “Algeria is Keen on NRA Alum Keene.”

One chapter of Keene’s lobbying history has made even fewer headlines: The time he, Paul Erickson and Jack Abramoff were lobbying for a widely recognized dictator’s entry into the United States.

Erickson and Abramoff had been longtime friends whose professional lives often intertwined. After college Republicans, Erickson and Abramoff went on to do more than just develop the anti-Communist Dolph Lundgren flick Red Scorpion together.

In 1995, Erickson obtained a $30,000 contract for a six-week stint lobbying for entrance into the United States on behalf of Mobutu Sese Seko, the president of the Republic of Congo during the Rwandan genocide who was widely referenced as a military dictator. Mobutu had been banned from the entering the United States after he developed political ties while working as a journalist then formed an authoritarian regime. He was notorious for corruption, nepotism, and embezzlement between $4 and $15 billion during his reign as well as widespread human rights violations.

As Abramoff noted in the FARA disclosures, he was “under no illusion we are dealing with Thomas Jefferson.”

The official foreign principal who hired Erickson’s firm was Andre Soussan, a “Danish citizen residing in Paris who is a close political advisor to President Mobutu Sese Seko of Zaire,” according to the FARA disclosures obtained by CRP.

Soussan reportedly “acted as an intermediary for President Mobutu’s quest for a U.S. visa,” which entailed rallying together members of Congress to write letters of support and “employment of Mr. Keene to assist in Andrew Soussan’s visa quest.” But the FARA disclosures discovered through Foreign Lobby Watch’s full-text search feature show Soussan played little role in the operation.

In the FARA disclosure, Abramoff argued that negotiations in the United States, “where Mobutu has few or no friends — would be less susceptible to manipulation.” U.S. officials did not agree, reportedly pushing back that Mobutu merely wanted to sanitize his image by appearing to support democratic reforms so he could stage controlled elections and further consolidate his power.

The State Department ultimately rejected Mobutu’s entrance into the United States. He stayed in power until he was expelled in 1997.

Abramoff has again been implicated in Erickson’s schemes related to Butina, though the full extent and scope of Abramoff’s role is unclear.

Anti-fraud investigators at Wells Fargo bank, acting on a tip from federal investigators, flagged potentially suspicious bank transfers from an account held jointly by Butina and Erickson to what appeared to be a shell company tied to Abramoff’s family. Erickson sent wire transfers for $15,000 to a California company incorporated in March 2017 out of the home of Abramoff’s son who is listed as its CEO and sole director while Abramoff’s brother is the registered agent.”