Who Is Paul Erickson?

Each day we've been learning more about the alleged Russian spy, Maria Butina and her ties to South Dakota.  

One of those ties is GOP political insider Paul Erickson.  The two started a company together here in South Dakota called Bridges LLC, but other than that we don't know too much else about Erickson other than he's a Vermillion native. 

KELOLAND News did a little more digging into Erickson's background and found out a lot of people are trying to distance themselves from him now; calling him a shady character and con-man. 

Paul Erickson allegedly helped 29-year-old Maria Butina, the alleged Russian spy, make inroads with U.S. political operatives and organizations.

He's not named in court proceedings, but according to national reports Erickson and Butina had a romantic relationship.

Longtime political activist Steve Hildebrand doesn't have a lot of nice things to say about Erickson.  He says during the 2004 John Thune-Tom Daschle Senate race, Erickson pulled shady tactics that allowed him to cozy up with politicians who didn't necessarily want a close association with him, but liked his style. 

"He'll raise money for pretty harsh negative, not really truthful, advertising for example," Hildebrand said. 

We stopped by Erickson's apartment in Sioux Falls, again Thursday, to see if he was available for comment.

Once again, no one answered, so we had to leave a message. 

Hildebrand says Erickson probably wants to keep a low profile, because he could be in serious trouble. 

Don: You think he'll be charged?  

Steve:  I can't imagine why he wouldn't be, he absolutely is going to be in trouble if they can tie him to this influence peddling this infiltrating into the GOP.

So far Erickson has not returned our calls. 

Meanwhile, a retired FBI agent who worked in counter intelligence, tell us: "The government is alleging conspiracy along with FARA in this case, so there is always the possibility of more indictments down the road.  But in my opinion the greater possibility is that Paul Erickson will become a cooperating witness against Butina," retired FBI Counter Intelligence Agent David Gomez said.



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