Politics

Rohrabacher Mulls Starting Consulting Firm With Fired Aide

Paul Behrends was ousted from Foreign Affairs Committee after Russian contacts revealed

Rep. Dana Rohrabacher, R-Calif., is telling friends that he plans to form a consulting firm in Maine, according to recent reports. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

In his next act, California GOP Rep. Dana Rohrabacher might form a consulting firm with a former top aide linked to the controversial private security firm Blackwater and figures at the center of Robert S. Mueller’s Russia investigation.

Rohrabacher, ousted from his 48th District seat by voters last month, told senior staff members that he plans to create a consulting business called R&B Strategies with Paul Behrends after the current session of Congress ends, the Wall Street Journal reported.

A spokesman for the congressman would only confirm to the Orange County Register that Rohrabacher plans to move to Maine.

Rohrabacher spokesman Ken Grubbs told the Register that the congressman is considering “other options, including consulting, but he has nothing definitive to say about any of it now.”

Behrends lost his position as staff director of the House Foreign Affairs Committee last year amid reports that he accompanied Rohrabacher on a trip to Russia. The staffer and his boss met with Natalia Veselnitskaya, the Russian attorney who met with Donald Trump Jr., Paul Manafort and Jared Kushner in Trump Tower in 2016, as well as Maria Butina, a Russian guns rights activist who pled guilty this week to conspiring to act as a foreign agent.

Rohrabacher defended the meetings at the time, saying, “Paul Behrends and I both know that the Cold War is over,” the Register reported.

A longtime lobbyist, Behrends represented Blackwater Security Consulting in 2007 as the company faced national outrage for shooting at civilians in Baghdad, killing 17.

Rohrabacher defended the company weeks after the massacre, as well as its president Erik Prince, who Behrends recruited to serve as an intern in Rohrabacher's Capitol Hill office in the 1990s.

Rohrabacher said of Prince that he knew “this guy was going to spend the rest of his life trying to do things that would further the ideals and philosophy that we shared.”

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