Former Trump campaign adviser Michael Caputo paid his own PR firm to purge Wikipedia of his long-standing political ties to Russia
Michael Caputo (source)
According to Wikipedia editing records, Caputo recently paid Zeppelin Communications, a PR firm he co-founded in 2015 with Russian club owner Sergey George Petrushin, to delete evidence that he helped promote Russian President Vladimir Putin in the United States.
The edits were made two weeks after Caputo testified privately to the House Intelligence Committee about Donald Trump’s “tarantula web” of ties to Russia.
Caputo was brought onto Trump’s 2016 presidential campaign as communications adviser by his close associate, political strategist Paul Manafort.
Paul Manafort (source)
On Monday, Manafort was indicted on 12 charges including “conspiracy against the United States” as part of an investigation by special counsel Robert Mueller, who is examining allegations of possible collusion between Trump’s campaign and the Russian government.
In July, Caputo’s firm launched a “disruptive editing” campaign to delete “disputed information” about his personal life and political career from Wikipedia, including his previous admission to The Buffalo News that in 2000 he was hired by pro-Russian news network Gazprom Media “to burnish Putin’s image in the United States.”
The firm also sought to add its own “properly sourced information” about Caputo, including that he “denies ever working for Putin, and scoffs at…accusations that he was ‘Putin’s image maker.’”
Other noteworthy additions to Caputo’s life and career include that “he lived aboard a tugboat with a parrot,” and that his “work on high-profile campaigns drew attention because of his trademark use of volunteers in chicken suits and deploying strippers outside a debate.”
In August, an investigation by Wikipedia administrators determined that the edits were made by one person using multiple sockpuppet accounts.
The culprit, using the pseudonym “Baldassn,” subsequently admitted that they had been “paid by Zeppelin Communications on behalf of Michael R. Caputo” to make the edits.
Zeppelin Communications PR account executive Sean Dwyer, who shares his last name with the main sock account, “DwyerSP,” and whose Twitter handle is “@DwyerSP,” appears to be the person behind the accounts.