Dana Watch: My Favorite Martin

Illustration by Bob Aul

It was revealed a couple of Dana Watches ago that Representative Dana Rohrabacher (R-Putin’s Bareback Saddle) drew a high-powered Republican opponent in former county GOP chairman Scott Baugh.

Baugh mentioned in his campaign-entry statement that his ex-friend’s preoccupation with the interests of Russian President Vladimir Putin was an example of the congressman having lost touch with the needs of his 48th congressional district constituents. But Baugh was not the Republican challenger who spoke at PutinCon, a gathering held in New York City two days before the March 18 election of the Russian leader to his fourth term in office. It was Paul Martin, whose candidacy we announced on Oct. 24, 2017.

Organized by the Human Rights Foundation and led by the chess champion and prominent Russian opposition leader Garry Kasparov, PutinCon exposed threats posed by the Putin regime. Karina Orlova, who fled Russia because of death threats and is now a contributing writer for The American Interest, caught up with Martin at PutinCon, where he called for American sanctions on Putin and Russian oligarchs to counter Kremlin attacks on U.S. and western democracy.

“I mean, really, this is a big party that these oligarchs are having,” Martin told Orlova. “This is all about sex, drugs, and rock & roll at the end of the day. I hate to say it: It’s all about exposure to nice toys, nice locations and money. And by freezing the assets, by restricting visas, suddenly, what’s the motive anymore?”

Martin also met with Bill Browder, the chief architect of the Magnitsky Act, which is named for his late friend, a Russian tax attorney. Sergei Magnitsky uncovered a $230 million Russian government fraud, was arrested by the same officers he implicated, and was tortured and killed while in custody in 2009. Browder’s bill sanctioned 19 Russian oligarchs for complicity in Magnitsky’s death.

The legislation has so far withstood heavy opposition from the Putin regime, whose lobbyists wined and dined Rohrabacher, who in turn introduced them to other D.C. lawmakers. Rohrabacher has also been accused of violating the legislation.

Browder, who put his Hermitage Capital business on hold to avenge Magnitsky’s death, recently endorsed the candidacy of Martin, a lifelong Republican and “raging centrist” who has vowed to stage PutinCon events in the 48th.

“Many here are just starting to find out about what Rohrabacher has been up to,” Martin says. “They are turning to me because I’m making it the single greatest issue in this very close race. Our campaign needs a more efficient way of telling this story, so we are going to launch these events.”

Got Dana Watch fodder? Email mcoker@ocweekly.com.