Meet U.S. Person 2 in Maria Butina’s Spy Ring

Ladd Everitt
6 min readJul 25, 2018

His name is George D. O’Neill, Jr. He’s a Rockefeller heir, gun nut, serial abuser of women & children, sexual deviant, and a big fan of Vladimir Putin.

Russian spy Maria Butina was indicted on July 17, 2018 on charges of acting as a foreign agent in the United States without providing proper notification to the Attorney General. GOP operative/NRA representative Paul Erickson, identified as “U.S. Person 1” in court documents, was Butina’s chief co-conspirator in a multi-year “covert influence operation” aimed at winning GOP support for Russian president Vladimir Putin’s foreign policy goals. The operation relied on support from both NRA leaders and organizers with the National Prayer Breakfast.

George D. O’Neill, Jr. is a very rich — and very scary — man.

While there has been a good amount of discussion about U.S. Person 1 (Erickson) in the media, there has been surprisingly little discussion about the “U.S. Person 2” mentioned in the court documents. Along with Erickson, U.S. Person 2 helped Maria Butina arrange a “series of dinners in the District of Columbia and New York City involving Russian nationals and U.S. persons having influence in American politics.” The dinners took place in 2016 and 2017 and were classified as “friendship and dialogue” events.

Event-planning is an area where right-wing scion and Rockefeller heir (est. worth: $200 million) George D. O’Neill, Jr. has expertise. On January 31, 2017, he hosted a private dinner during the National Prayer Breakfast in Washington, D.C. that was attended by Erickson and Butina’s boss, Russian central bank head Alexander Torshin. Also present were “[other] former and current Russian officials…U.S. Republicans and conservatives including two congressmen [Republicans Dana Rohrabacher of California and Thomas Massie of Kentucky], a right-wing magazine publisher, some journalists, and others.” One week later, on February 8, Butina emailed U.S. Person 2 [O’Neill] and told him, “Our delegation cannot stop chatting about your wonderful dinner.”

Butina often communicated in group emails with O’Neill and Erickson. As it turns out, O’Neill has known the balding, South Dakota-based GOP insider for some time. In 1992, Erickson served as Pat Buchanan’s campaign manager and national political director during his unsuccessful run to secure the GOP nomination for president. O’Neill was an ardent supporter of Buchanan’s and a valuable volunteer in his 1992 campaign. That year, O’Neill temporarily moved to New Hampshire with his [then] wife Amy Whittlesey to organize Buchanan’s computer database. “We were in chaos before they got here,” recalled Caroline Douglas, who ran Buchanan’s campaign effort in New Hampshire. “They were so organized and knew so much about campaign work, and were just so charming together. Of course, at first we thought they were spies.” Buchanan achieved a surprise second-place finish in the GOP primary in New Hampshire, which the New York Times deemed a “jarring political message” to Republican incumbent President George H.W. Bush (who ultimately won the nomination).

In addition to their familiarity with one another, O’Neill and Erickson share an affinity for guns and the NRA. O’Neill is a certified NRA firearms instructor and proud of his affiliation with the organization. Family and friends describe him as a man that spends a great deal of time at the “shooting range he…built down the road from their house [in Florida].” According to Amy Whittlesey, “There was a distinct change in the number of ammunition and guns that he had and it was around the time of the Waco and Ruby Ridge tragedies. He was concerned about the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms confiscating his guns. And so he wanted to accumulate as many as he could.” Whittlesey also reported O’Neill forced her to watch videotapes demonizing the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF).

Whittlesey ultimately divorced O’Neill after he threatened to kill himself with a gun if she called the husband of one of the many women he was having an affair with* (that list included the couple’s 19 year-old babysitter during a time when Amy was pregnant and giving birth to the couple’s children).

Butina’s image was designed to cultivate gun-fetishizing, horny men like George D. O’Neill, Jr.

There is little doubt that spy Maria Butina, with her “NRA Cool Girl” image and pro-gun rhetoric, appealed to O’Neill. O’Neill and Whittlesey’s 2000 divorce proceedings reveal that O’Neill, now 68, has an enormous sexual appetite for younger women and deviant habits. Butina is 29 years old and has posed in a series of provocative photos with firearms promoting her Russian front group, The Right to Bear Arms.

O’Neill’s dark side also includes his role as PR man for Vladimir Putin. He publishes opinion pieces in The American Conservative on the topic. O’Neill is a board member with the 501(c)(3) that owns the magazine (Pat Buchanan co-founded it). In these writings, O’Neill has embraced “Peace with Putin” and supported the Russian president’s positions vis-à-vis Syria, Iran, Iraq, Yemen, and the U.S. sanctions against Russia in response to their Ukraine invasion/Crimea annexation.

Curiously, O’Neill also published a list of individuals and organizations with which he has “first-hand involvement.” These are others who agree with O’Neill that “to seek better relations with Russia and the rest of the world is part of the noble American tradition of Washington, Adams, [and] Eisenhower.” The list is as follows:

The American Conservative, The Nation,, The National Interest, Consortium News

Charles Koch Institute, The Committee for the Republic, The Committee for East-West Accord, Veteran Intelligence Professionals for Sanity

World Russia Forum organizer Dr. Edward Lozansky, Herman Pirchner of the American Foreign Policy Institute, Susan Carmel of the Carmel Institute of Russian Culture & History at American University, Susan Eisenhower of The Eisenhower Institute, Gerard Janco of The Eurasia Center, John Lenczowski of the Institute of World Politics, Chas Freeman of Brown University, Ray McGovern (former intelligence officer), Andrew Bacevich of Boston University, Doug Bandow of the Cato Institute, Stephen Cohen of Princeton & New York University, Robert David English of the University of Southern California, Stephen Kinzer of Brown University, John Mearsheimer of the University of Chicago, Barry Posen of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Stephen Walt of Harvard University, Robert Parry, Gilbert Doctorow

Elected/Appointed Officials
Senator Rand Paul (R-KY)
Congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard (D-HI)
Former U.S. Senator Bill Bradley (Committee on Foreign Relations)
Former U.S. Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel
Former U.S. Ambassador to the Soviet Union Jack Matlock, Jr.
Former presidential candidate and senior adviser to Republican Presidents Pat Buchanan

Several of those cited by O’Neill have known links to Butina and Russian central bank head Alexander Torshin. For example, The National Interest published an op-ed by Butina titled “The Bear and The Elephant” in which she questioned the value of U.S. sanctions against Russia. The Washington Post reported that Butina met with Susan Eisenhower of The Eisenhower Institute during her time as a graduate student at American University. (Butina was involved in a program run by The Carmel Institute of Russian Culture). Finally, Dr. Edward Lozansky has co-organized the World Russian Forum event in Washington, D.C. with Torshin going as far back as 2010, when one of the “Peace with Putin” speakers was NRA board member David Keene’s second-hand man at the American Conservative Union, vice chair Donald Devine.

Hollywood couldn’t write a better co-conspirator for Russian spy Maria Butina than U.S. Person 2. Hopefully, villain George D. O’Neill, Jr. will now gain the attention he so richly deserves for his abusive and treasonous behavior.


* Incidents like this were tragically common. O’Neill was emotionally abusive to Whittlesey and utterly negligent in caring for her and their five children. Despite his enormous personal wealth, he left them in a house that hadn’t been lived in for years and “lacked modern kitchen appliances and air-conditioning.” “It’s old, dark, and roach-infested,” a former housekeeper for the family told Vanity Fair, “but they did get rid of the rodents.” “At the front door was this [statue of a] full-size nude woman,” remembered a fellow Florida Republican. “The paint was peeling off the walls, the dogs peed on the carpets, and the rented furniture had mildew stains,” wrote reporter Lisa Depaulo.



Ladd Everitt

Ladd Everitt is a comms pro & gun control expert who’s worked for Coalition to Stop Gun Violence, George Takei's One Pulse for America, and Million Mom March.