To be renowned as a successful billionaire, Republican nominee Donald Trump’s campaign finances are in utter disarray. When Trump’s presidential campaign committee submitted the Federal Election Commission campaign disclosure report for the month of May, it showed his fund-raising was irresolute. After accumulating less than $6 million, the month ended with only $1.3 million remaining, in comparison to Democratic nominee Clinton’s $41 million.
But deep within the layers of Trump’s 1699-page disclosure report were items that add another layer of mystery to his campaign. A total of $35,000 was paid to “Draper Sterling” for web advertising services. The three $10,000 payments and single $5,000 payment were disbursed from the campaign’s American Express account to the entity in a single day. The FEC report also discloses an additional $79,500 was spent on Facebook web advertising.
The name Draper and Sterling are derived from the fictional advertising characters Don Draper and Roger Sterling, the leading, flannel wearing characters in the popular AMC show, Mad Men.
The entity was registered in February of 2015 to Jon Adkins, the co-founder if the medical device start-up, XenoTherapeutics, as a 501(c)3 foreign limited liability company. According to recorded documents, the headquarters of the business is listed as Adkins’ residential address in New Hampshire. This location is also situated 15 minutes away from the residence of Corey Lewandowski, Trump’s recently fired former campaign manager.
Adkins’ XenoTherapeutics co-founder, Paul Holzer, is a medical student currently studying at Dartmouth, after having served the United States as a Navy SEAL officer for 10 years, retiring as a Lieutenant Commander. Holzer also served the political campaigns of Massachusetts Governor Charlie Baker and Missouri’s Jon Bruner.
The May FEC report shows an additional $3,000 was disbursed to both Adkins and Holzer for “field consulting”, in which, Adkins residential address listed on the payment. The Associated Press questioned Holzer who responded by asserting that Draper and Sterling provided “data analysis” and “spreadsheet” work for the campaign.
Adkins public files associate him with his employment with Dynamic Solutions, which claims to produce political and non-profit campaign strategies. Yet, the firm has no individual website or Facebook presence.
While Holzer’s background is less murky than Adkin’s, a respected Republican consultant with connections to Holzer proclaims he has a reputation for burning bridges and overstating his status.
Meanwhile, the sole mentioning of Draper Sterling is their complaint filed with the FEC against a federal super PAC referred to as “Patriots For America,” which sought to develop a position of persuasion over the governor’s race in Missouri.
Patriots for America is managed by Adam McLain, Holzer’s brother. The telephone number listed for the company is the same as the number for Grace’s Grantham Cafe, a coffee shop in New Hampshire registered in Adkin’s name.
While these accumulated details may appear circumstantial, inquiries with Trump’s campaign for clarification of the web advertising went unanswered. That was until Republican Matt Mackowiak released a tweet, claiming that Trump’s campaign was performing a “forensic audit” of Corey Lewandowski’s web advertising spending.