A conservative political operative who once worked on Pat Buchanan’s 1992 presidential campaign and made an action movie with Jack Abramoff more recently helped arrange several speeches in South Dakota for a gun-rights activist suspected of being a covert Russian agent.
South Dakota businessman Paul Erickson in 2015 helped set up at least three events for accused Russian operative Maria Butina and formed a company with her in the state the following year. Butina awaits trial on charges of conspiracy and acting as an unregistered foreign agent for Russia. A judge on Wednesday ordered Butina held in jail as the case proceeds. The case raises questions about her connections to South Dakota and to Erickson.