Mad Men: Why Did Donald Trump Make Payments to "Draper Sterling"?

Frank Ockenfels/AMC
'Mad Men' characters Roger Sterling, Don Draper.

The presumptive Republican presidential nominee paid $35,000 to a New Hampshire-based company named after the stars of the AMC hit show.

As everyone has heard by now, billionaire businessman and presumptive Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump is running out of money. With a meager $1.3 million on hand at the end of May, Trump needs a big boost to catch up with Clinton, who clocked in at the beginning of the month with a robust $42 million.

What money Trump did have, he appears to have been spending in, well, more creative ways.

According to his campaign's latest filing with the Federal Election Commission, Trump paid $35,000 to a New Hampshire-based outfit called Draper Sterling for an unspecified amount of "web advertising" in late April. Aficionados of the AMC hit show Mad Men will recognize the names of its two star characters, Don Draper and Roger Sterling, as well as their ad agency. And if the two dapper advertising moguls existed, they'd more than likely happily take The Donald's money.

Alas, the real folks behind Draper Sterling appear to have something else in mind, according to ThinkProgress, which broke the story earlier today. The firm is registered to Jon Adkins, the co-founder of a consulting firm that says it "uses data analytics to produce quantifiable returns and direct political or nonprofit strategy."

It has no website, however, and the link to the company's Facebook page is dead. Adkins is also the co-founder of XenoTherapeutics, which claims to bring "lifesaving xeno technology" to bear on severe burns and chronic wounds. But that company's website is also unavailable to the public and requires a password to enter. Adkins did not respond to email or phone requests for an interview as of press time.

Adkins partner in both of these enterprises is Paul Holzer, a former Navy SEAL and now a medical student at Dartmouth College. Holzer has worked on political campaigns in Massachusetts and Missouri before — though apparently not at any advertising firms.

The story takes another twist. Holzer's brother is Adam McLain, who runs a super PAC called Patriots for America, which was involved in the same Missouri race that Holzer participated in. Patriots for America owes Draper Sterling $56,234, though it's not clear what for. An economics professor in Missouri filed a complaint with the FEC citing the "highly unusual" debt that had accrued during the transaction. 

In addition to his super PAC duties, McClain also runs a New Hampshire eatery called Grace's Grantham Cafe. This morning, however, an employee there told THR that McLain was "not around" and that she couldn't disclose whether or not he worked there or would be returning later. 

comments powered by Disqus