It can’t be denied that Donald Trump’s floundering campaign for the White House has been nothing if not entertaining, with its plethora of scandals and utterly bizarre episodes. The newest revelations out of Trump’s Monday filing with the Federal Election Commission might take the cake, however. Buried within the document are records of some $35,000 distributed to a “web advertising” company called – wait for it- “Draper Sterling.”
Fans of the fictional show Mad Men might recognize the names of the two main characters, who run an advertising company of the same name. The story then somehow gets weirder. The location of “Draper and Sterling” is listed as the New Hampshire residence of a man named Jon Adkins. On top of the money sent to “Draper Sterling,” Adkins and another man named Paul Holzer were directly paid another $3,000 for “field consulting,” whatever that might mean.
The only other mention of “Draper Sterling” anywhere is in an FEC complaint against a group called “Patriots For America,” a Super PAC involved in the Missouri governor’s race. The FEC noticed that some $56,234 was owed to “Draper Sterling” by the mysterious group that was almost obviously certainly a money-laundering front:
The number listed for “Patriots for America” goes to the voicemail of a coffeeshop in New Hampshire, Grace’s Grantham Cafe, that also does not exist, but is registered to Jon Adkins, the same person who owns “Draper Sterling.” A reporter for Slate magazine just went to the address where “Draper Sterling” is registered – and all he found was Adkins’ mother-in-law, who said that “I don’t know what he does. All I do is I watch his kids.” His father-in-law said that he had in fact heard of “Draper Sterling” but that “I don’t know nothing” about it.
What exactly is afoot here is hard to understand, as all the information relating to it is being quickly scrubbed from the internet. However, coming so soon after Trump was caught funneling his campaign funds to his personal businesses, it’s clear that some kind of corrupt scheme is at play here – and almost certainly not the only one. It’s just another piece of evidence that Trump is has no intention of running a real presidential election campaign but that he is treating his bid for the presidency like he does all his businesses – as an ineptly managed opportunity to steal and extort for his own personal profit.
Opinion columnist and former editor-in-chief of Occupy Democrats. He graduated from Bennington College with a Bachelor's degree in history and political science. He now focuses on advancing the cause of social justice and equality in America.