Press "Enter" to skip to content

Wells Fargo Checking Fishy Erickson/Butina Cash Flows for Money Laundering

A little Butina for breakfast: funky cash flows reported by Buzzfeed show that accused Russian spy Maria Butina was up to far more than grad school and that her fake boyfriend Paul Erickson should have known fishy Russia business was afoot.

Buzzfeed’s Jason Leopold and Anthony Cormier report that South Dakota-connected Republican schemer Erickson was writing big checks from his personal and business accounts and an account in Butina’s name which Wells Fargo flagged as potential money-laundering activities. Among the question-marked money:

  • $107K in cash withdrawals.
  • $89K moved between Erickson’s U.S. accounts and Butina’s Alfa Bank account in Russia.
  • $93K moved May–August 2017 during Butina’s graduate studies at American University in Washington, D.C. (That sum would pay for 54 graduate credits.)
  • $45K to a D.C. law firm in June–July 2017. (Grad school doesn’t require legal representation.)
  • $15K wired to Jack Abramoff’s son and Abramoff’s brother.
  • $5.3K spent on D.C. limousine service.

Funny Erickson could have enough cash to send to Russia but not a penny to pay back the money he bilked from the Bielfeldts in Brookings. But ammosexuality and Russian subterfuge can do strange things to a man’s priorities.


  1. mike from iowa 2018-08-02 09:47

    Subterfuge is a low level centrifuge, right?

  2. Donald Pay 2018-08-02 10:20

    I’m hoping they look closely into how the Muslim hate campaign associated with conservative Christian churches and groups and certain county Republican offices in South Dakota got funding for their disgusting hate fests. Those hate meetings and groups seemed to have bubbled up out of a murky underworld inhabited by international speakers and righty organizers. I suspect a connection with Russia.

  3. Eve Fisher 2018-08-02 12:26

    I still want to know why Northern Beef Packers sent $1.5 million to the Russian owned Ultracare Holdings in Cyprus.

  4. Porter Lansing 2018-08-02 14:03

    Right on, Donald Pay. It’s hardly a coincidence that the uncharacteristic South Dakota rabid Muslim hate so prevalent for over a year on blogs and hate speech gatherings has died at the same time Maria Butina’s Russian involvement has surfaced. IMO, Dan Lederman’s hiding something and using political party by-law media coverage as a cover. A “barely across the state line” pawn shop, the NRA and money laundering seem to be a hand and glove fit.

  5. mike from iowa 2018-08-02 16:24

    Does anyone know where Erickson was when EB-5 was going off the rails before 2010?

  6. Eve Fisher 2018-08-02 16:40

    He was getting a lot of judgments placed against him for Compass Care, a senior living company based in South Dakota which was “dedicated to developing non-nursing home care options for seniors in the Midwest. This venture led to senior care consulting spinoffs, independent living communities and the licensing of medical technology.” Except that apparently none of that happened, and he got sued at least 6 times.

    Also, in 2007, An Argus Leader story describes Erickson as “executive director of Citizens for the Republic” and “a national vice chairman for the Faith and Values steering committee for former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney’s campaign.”
    2010 – Erickson incorporates Investing With Dignity LLC in South Dakota. (Rapid City Journal timeline)

  7. mike from iowa 2018-08-02 17:04

    Thanks, Eve .

  8. mike from iowa 2018-08-02 18:00

    Here is an opportunity for money laundering-

    From above link- How much might workers have benefited if companies had devoted their financial resources to them rather than to shareholders? Lowe’s, CVS, and Home Depot could have provided each of their workers a raise of $18,000 a year, the report found. Starbucks could have given each of its employees $7,000 a year, and McDonald’s could have given $4,000 to each of its nearly 2 million employees.

    I’m guessing some of that moolah would have been deposited in South Dakota worker’s hands.

  9. Anne Beal 2018-08-02 19:06

    I have bad news for you. Lowe’s and Home Depot both have an employee stock purchase plan with a 15% deiscount on the purchase price, and CVS has a 10% discount on their employees’ stock purchases.
    So many of the stockholders are or were the employees too, and when these companies buy back stock, they buy it from their employees and retirees.
    I know, it’s shocking.

  10. mike from iowa 2018-08-02 19:30

    Think of how much stock the workers might have been able to afford with those raises. Nevermind, the silly dummies probably would have spent most of it and helped improve the economy for the rest if us.

  11. Donald Pay 2018-08-02 21:32

    Porter, there’s lots of evidence Butina was trying to infiltrate the Christian right, just as she penetrated the NRA. She had attended several National Prayer Breakfast with Erickson. They were pedaling the anti-Muslim message to them and trying to get buy-in, but that’s a top-down approach, which probably didn’t go as easily as expected. So, they decided to try a bottom-up approach, applying grassroots organizing to corrupt the Christian right from the bottom up, and using South Dakota as a test market. I’ve been looking and I haven’t seen this effort in other states. Erickson’s connection to South Dakota would make SD a logical place to test market this approach. After getting some local folks heated up they started using that base to take over local Republican Parties. The low level of sophistication of the base of the Republican Party in South Dakota probably made it an easier approach than trying to infiltrate the elites in the Christian right.

  12. Debbo 2018-08-02 22:12

    The Christian Right is so rottenly corrupt it’s hard to believe it could get worse. The Southern Baptist Convention has even backed away from their bizarre “theology”.

  13. Cory Allen Heidelberger Post author | 2018-08-03 05:43

    Debbo, Paul Erickson was involved with a big 1997 Promise Keepers event in D.C. That’s certainly Christian right-wingery. But what about “Word Alone,” the ELCA reform movement he founded, and the Institute of Luthern Theology, on the board of which he served with his financial mark Dennis Bielfeldt? That ELCA reform push is certainly conservative, but it doesn’t seem like typical right-wingery, not the kind that shows up for the anti-Muslim hate rallies (which, yes, I agree smell a lot like further Russian pot-stirring).

  14. Eve Fisher 2018-08-03 07:14

    I don’t know – the Word Alone page I found is encouraging people to leave the ELCA for a long host of reasons…

  15. jerry 2018-08-03 12:13

    Comrade Dusty is such a gullible dummy, got played by his sex kitten Butina. This says a lot about Lederman and his South Dakota Russian party. “Like a Scud Missile”, what a proud moment.

    “Washington (CNN)As far as spy craft goes, Maria Butina’s skills didn’t seem particularly impressive.

    The alleged covert Russian agent liked to communicate via Twitter messages and WhatsApp. Her overly flirtatious approach left men wondering what she was truly after. She tended to brag about her ties to Russian intelligence when she was intoxicated, according to people familiar with the situation.
    “She’s like a Scud missile. There’s no precision,” said CIA veteran Robert Baer, a CNN intelligence and security analyst.”

    A drunk, Russian hooker spy got to Comrade Dusty and enamored him with her Russian accent, works every time on South Dakota horn dogs.

  16. mike from iowa 2018-08-03 12:19

    Maria Butt In A sling is said to have gotten drunk at least twice and blurted out to college friends she was trying to infiltrate the NRA for Russia.

    She may not have been Mata Hari, but look at what she had to work with. Barney Fife could’ve hornswoggled the chumps Buttina did.

  17. Debbo 2018-08-03 14:23

    Eve and Cory, I haven’t paid any attention to Word Alone for many years. It popped up when I was in seminary in St. Paul. I wouldn’t have considered Erickson the founder. I thought it was some conservative profs and preachers at Luthersem and in the MSP area.

    If I remember correctly, some of them really didn’t like women being pastors, didn’t like understanding the bible through a historical/critical lens, some were hostile to the 1987 merger of Lutheran bodies that resulted in the ELCA, were mad that denominational headquarters were moved from Minneapolis to Chicago, felt they had lost some power, hated feminism and uppity women and went completely ballistic when the ELCA decided to welcome LBGT folks to all levels of church life.

    I imagine little of that was listed on the website that you found Eve, but that’s what was actually happening on the ground. One of that group’s venerated leaders was a retired prof who was a real misogynist and didn’t try very hard to hide it. He’s dead now. Over time Word Alone may have weeded some of that stuff out, but in its early days, some of Word Alone’s earliest supporters were nursing a combination of old grudges against the ELCA for a variety of reasons.

    Any time a “religious” group creates a website urging readers to leave a conventional denomination, the reader should wonder what’s going on with the people doing the urging. Generally they’ve “got some issues.”

  18. Eve Fisher 2018-08-04 08:11

    Debbo, actually most of that was there on the website – it all reeked of classic cult behavior. “Leave [insert denomination here] for [a variety of reasons] and find the truth with us!” I grew up in Southern California in the 1960s: believe me, I know a cult when I see one.

  19. Porter Lansing 2018-08-04 08:34

    Ms. Fisher … Your bio is highly impressive as are your comments. Keep ’em comin’. :0)

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.