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Erickson in Afghanistan, 2013

Paul Erickson clasps hands with a village elder/warlord the day of the groundbreaking for a school and clinic in 2013 as part of the Marshall Plan Charities village redevelopment project in Afghanistan.

1961: Born in Los Angeles.

1979: Graduates from Vermillion High School.

1980: Resigns from the University of South Dakota Student Association after providing confidential student information to Jim Abdnor’s U.S. Senate campaign and registering voters without proper notary certification. Eventually transfers to Yale College in Connecticut.

Summer 1982: While leading a student group to Israel, witnesses the beginning of the 1982 Lebanon War, aka Operation Peace for Galilee.

Summer 1983: Delivers supplies to insurgents fighting the Soviets in Afghanistan. Later, in 2008, Erickson helps launch the Marshall Plan Charities to redevelop Afghan villages.

May 1984: Receives a bachelor of arts degree from Yale with a major in economics and political science.

August 1984: Performs, at the Republican National Convention in Dallas, a “Fritzbusters” sketch that uses a “Ghostbusters” theme to lampoon Democratic presidential nominee Walter “Fritz” Mondale.

1985: Works for the ultimately unsuccessful campaign of Richard Viguerie, who is running for lieutenant governor of Virginia.

1988: Earns a law degree from the University of Virginia.

1989: Receives an executive producer credit on the anti-communist action film “Red Scorpion,” which is based on a story conceived by Jack Abramoff and stars Dolph Lundgren of “Rocky IV” fame.

1990: Travels to Nicaragua to watch U.S.-backed contra rebels put down their arms after Soviet-supported President Daniel Ortega agrees to abide by the results of a popular election.

1992: Works as national political director for the presidential campaign of Republican Pat Buchanan.

1993: Serves as a media adviser for John Wayne Bobbitt, whose penis was infamously severed and surgically reattached.

1994: Incorporates Erickson Associates Inc., a business and political consulting company, in Virginia.

1995: Erickson Associates discloses a $30,000 contract to lobby for Zairean President Mobutu Sese Seko to be allowed into the United States. Mobutu’s visa request is denied because of concerns about the brutal and dictatorial nature of his regime.

1996: Incorporates Compass Care Inc. in South Dakota to “provide comfortable homes for the elderly, as well as others in need of attentive care, and to provide consulting services,” according to the incorporation papers.

Jan. 23, 2003: Ford Motor Credit Company wins a judgment of $6,953.12 against Compass Care. It’s unclear from the court record whether the judgment has been paid.

April 2003: Erickson and Robert Regier pledge to raise and spend $800,000 against Senate Minority Leader Tom Daschle, D-S.D., during the 2004 election. They call the effort the “Dakota Accountability Project,” but it soon fizzles. John Thune, the Republican challenger to Daschle, disavows any connection to the project and goes on to win the election.

July 30, 2003: White Lodging Services, of Irving, Texas, wins a judgment of $27,777.30 against Compass Care. The record indicates the judgment was partially paid by 2015.

Nov. 24, 2003: Bluestem Capital Partners, the venture capital firm of former South Dakota lieutenant governor Steve Kirby, wins a $115,414.66 judgment against Compass Care for an unpaid promissory note. It’s unclear from the court record whether the judgment has been paid.

Oct. 12, 2004: Lloyd Property Management Inc., dba Oak Centre LLC, wins a judgment of $3,058.23 against Compass Care. The court record indicates the judgment has been paid.

Sept. 3, 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.”

Feb. 22, 2008: Conservative writer and activist L. Brent Bozell III wins a $190,000 judgment after suing Compass Care and Erickson for breach of contract. The last item in the court file is a 2012 notice from a representative of the U.S. Marshals Service who was unable to locate Erickson to enforce the judgment.

Sept. 20, 2010: Erickson incorporates Investing With Dignity LLC in South Dakota.

2011: Begins a three-year stint on the board of the American Conservative Union.

Nov. 1, 2013: Erickson is pictured with Maria Butina in a photo she posts to Facebook, at what she describes as the Second All-Russian Congress of the Right to Bear Arms movement. According to a 2017 report by The New York Times, Butina is a former assistant to Alexander Torshin, who is a deputy governor of the Russian central bank and a key figure in Russian President Vladimir Putin’s United Russia Party.

April 16, 2015: Butina delivers a gun-rights lecture to 30 students at the University of South Dakota in Erickson’s hometown of Vermillion.

June 16, 2015: Donald Trump announces his candidacy for president.

July 22, 2015: Butina, accompanied by Erickson, speaks at the Teen Age Republicans camp in the Black Hills.

Feb. 10, 2016: Erickson and Butina incorporate Bridges LLC in South Dakota.

July 19, 2016: Trump becomes the Republican Party nominee for president.

Aug. 31, 2016: Noting that Erickson has defaulted on a settlement agreement and payment plan with American Express, a judge awards a judgment of $37,135.70 against Erickson. The amount may still be owed, according to the court file.

Nov. 8, 2016: Donald Trump wins the U.S. presidential election.

Dec. 11, 2016: In an Opinion piece for Forbes, Ralph Benko calls Erickson a “sort of ‘secret master of the political universe’ known almost exclusively to the cognoscenti” and says he was one of “three wise men” who publicly challenged the popular narrative that Hillary Clinton would win the election.

Jan. 19, 2017: Dennis and Daniel Bielfeldt, of Brookings, win a judgment of $40,873.39 against Erickson after suing him for deceit, fraud and breach of contract.

Feb. 1, 2017: Erickson participates in a meeting at Bistro Bis on Capitol Hill about ways to strengthen the bond between Russia and the United States, according to a later report by Time.

April 2, 2017: A Yahoo News story describes Erickson as a “Trump transition adviser.”

Nov. 28, 2017: Sen. Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif., the ranking Democrat of the Senate Judiciary Committee, requests that Trump campaign national co-chair Sam Clovis and campaign national security adviser J.D. Gordon provide the committee with any communications they have had with or concerning “the NRA, Paul Erickson, Alexander Torshin, Maria Butina,” and others associated with Torshin’s outreach.

Dec. 3, 2017: A New York Times story says Erickson “told a Trump campaign adviser last year that he could arrange a back-channel meeting between Donald J. Trump and Vladimir V. Putin, the Russian president, according to an email sent to the Trump campaign.”

Jan. 18, 2018: The McClatchy DC Bureau reports that the FBI is investigating whether Alexander Torshin illegally funneled money to the National Rifle Association to help Trump win the presidency.

Jan. 25, 2018: Sen. Feinstein sends a letter to Erickson asking him to submit a list of documents and schedule an interview with the Senate Judiciary Committee as part of its investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 election.

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Contact Seth Tupper at seth.tupper@rapidcityjournal.com

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Enterprise reporter for the Rapid City Journal.