July 28, 2016

686 words 4 mins read

John Brunner's Charade, Part II

This is part II of a three-part series. Here’s part__ I.

That Shadowy Paul Holzer

Paul Holzer is a former Navy SEAL Lieutenant Commander and a medical student at Dartmouth in New Hampshire. (Oddly, his bio shows MD, MBA, even though is still in medical school and simultaneously working toward an MBA.) Holzer also runs a biotech 501c3 and a political consulting firm, Draper Sterling LLC. He did some work for Donald Trump’s campaign, and he was John Brunner’s chief of staff last year.

Holzer’s brother, Adam McLain, also worked for Brunner at the same time. After leaving the Brunner campaign, Holzer and McLain formed the Patriots for America super PAC, which does not disclose its sources of funding.

When the anti-Greitens video dropped, Paul Holzer worked pretty hard to hide his involvement. Remember when a Missouri Times reporter  colluded with Holzer and a partner trying to discredit Greitens without revealing Holzer’s identity? At the time, the SEALs demanded anonymity because, they claimed, revealing themselves would put their lives in danger:

Due to their desire not to seek fame or notoriety, as well as the fact that their service has put themselves and their families in danger, the SEALS could not have their names or ranks printed . . .

“A lot of us don’t want our names in the public because of what we did overseas. There’s a security threat to ourselves and our families,” one said.

But Holzer was not exactly anonymous in March. According to a Fortune magazine profile of Holzer’s shadowy political consulting firm Draper Sterling:

Adkins’ partner in that consulting firm was Paul Holzer, who is best known in Massachusetts political circles for his work helping to elect Gov. Charlie Baker.

What’s important to remember, here, is that Holzer worked very hard to hide his identity in March. But before that, Holzer proudly talked about his service as a Navy SEAL in Dartmouth’s medical school magazine. And, contrary to his claims that SEALs should never profit from  their military experience, Holzer’s biography on his biotech startup’s website proudly displays his SEAL service and suggests that service is important to his company’s mission:

Paul Holzer served as a US Navy SEAL Officer for 10 years and attained the rank of Lieutenant Commander. While serving overseas, he witnessed the horrific effects of severe burns and other combat injuries, fostering an interest in improving the availability of effective, life saving medical devices.

Plus, Xeno Therapeutic’s photo of Holzer shows him in his Navy uniform, including his SEAL pin.

On John Brunner’s campaign website, we again see Holzer advertising his service as a SEAL:

Chief of Staff Paul Holzer (Boston, MA): Paul Holzer is Chief of Staff to John Brunner. He served as a United States Navy SEAL Officer from 2003-2013, deploying to combat four times including Iraq and Afghanistan; he ultimately attained the rank of Lieutenant Commander and was awarded two Bronze Stars

Look, Holzer sounds like an impressive guy. But he also sounds kind of shady. According to a Huffington Post profile of Daper Sterling LLC:

** A top Republican source says, “he [Holzer] is infamous for burning bridges and for exaggerating his position.” ** He left Brunner’s campaign to work with Patriots for America, the PAC responsible for the phony Greitens website that was the topic of discussion on the recorded call between Greitens and John Brunner ** Patriots for America has $56,000 in debt to Holzer’s other firm, Draper Sterling ** The phone number listed for Patriots for America forwards to Grace’s Grantham Cafe ** Holzer’s startup, a 501c3, appears to be housed in a 1 bed, 1 bath apartment in Boston that has no phone number ** But no one associated with Xeno Therapeutics is listed as a resident of that building

Shadowy or shady?

Let’s be honest here. Paul Holzer was not hiding his SEAL service in March for the reasons he claims. Nor was he hiding his name.

Instead, Holzer was hiding his association with the Brunner campaign–or with whoever hired Draper Sterling  or Patriots of America to make that video.

Find out my hypothesis in Part III tomorrow.