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December 13, 2017

KLS Research: A Secret Trump Company & the Death of Peter Smith


Who or what killed Peter Smith?

Peter W. Smith was the seasoned venture capitalist and Republican fundraiser who met with the Wall Street Journal in early May. He told the newspaper that on behalf of Michael Flynn (a formal Trump associate at the time), he had attempted to obtain Hillary Clinton’s deleted emails from Russian sources.

Peter Smith reportedly died ten days after speaking with the Journal’s Shane Harris. We don’t know why.

What can we learn from this story? Did Smith know too much for someone’s comfort? Trump Watchdogs followed a scent to Delaware, a state beloved by those who crave corporate secrecy. We got there via the UK.

Matt Tait: “I Was An Unnamed Source” for the Peter Smith Story

Matt Tait is the founder and CEO of a security consultancy group in the UK. After the Wall Street Journal published its story about Peter Smith, Tait posted his article “The Time I Got Recruited to Collude with the Russians.” He explains that he was an unnamed source in the original story: Smith had contacted him for help judging the legitimacy of files offered by anonymous sources. The files were purportedly samples of Hillary Clinton’s deleted emails.

Why would Smith choose Tait? Matt Tait had tweeted about computer security issues specifically related to Freedom of Information Act disclosures about Clinton’s emails.

Tait wrote, “I was contacted out the blue by a man named Peter Smith, who had seen my work going through these emails. Smith implied that he was a well-connected Republican political operative.”

The Smith-Tait telephone relationship started around this time last year… just a few weeks after Donald Trump had publicly called upon Russia to hack Hillary Clinton’s files: “Russia, if you’re listening,” he said, “I hope you’re able to find the 30,000 emails that are missing. I think you will probably be rewarded mightily by our press.”

Tait, James Comey and other security experts doubt that Hillary Clinton’s server was hacked.

Forget the “damn emails.” We’re most interested in the Delaware connection noted in Tait’s account. Smith allegedly shared information about a secret company set up to benefit Trump’s campaign.

KLS Research, LLC: A Secret Trump Campaign Company In Delaware

Security consultant Matt Tait wrote the following about the cover page of a dossier he allegedly received from Peter Smith:

The document was entitled “A Demonstrative Pedagogical Summary to be Developed and Released Prior to November 8, 2016,” and dated September 7. It detailed a company Smith and his colleagues had set up as a vehicle to conduct the research: “KLS Research”, set up as a Delaware LLC “to avoid campaign reporting,” and listing four groups who were involved in one way or another.

When people compete for the US presidency, they are bound by law to disclose campaign expenditures. If a candidate were to incorporate a campaign-related company in Delaware and fail to report its existence and activity, they might be charged with federal election campaign violations.

Delaware state laws help corporations operate very privately. The group Transparency International explains:

Got dark secrets to hide when setting up a business there? No problem! No data is collected on beneficial owners, and company formation agents based in the state can act as nominee directors. It’s a cinch for a criminal to set up a shell corporation to launder illicit money, and gain access to the US banking system.

With the backing of a US corporate address to clean up their image, dodgy firms – including those run by Russian arms dealers and Serbian smugglers – can conduct their dirty tricks in peace.

In sum, here’s our hunch: Donald Trump and his associates formed an LLC in Delaware in September (see link below) with the specific aim of funding opposition research, i.e., research about Hillary Clinton. Owing to Delaware law, this company could be funded by anyone and pay anyone, and possibly escape the eye of the FEC and other authorities. Until now.

KLS Research, LLC Registration

The registration of KLS Research, LLC is to “The Company Corporation.” Hilarious. The Company Corporation comes across as less than above-board on the Better Business Bureau website.

The death of Peter Smith may or may not be related to his knowledge of any illicit activity that might involve the Trump campaign.

KLS Research, LLC! Let’s learn more, America. Other entities sharing the Delaware address are listed here. – Trump Watchdogs

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11 Responses “KLS Research: A Secret Trump Company & the Death of Peter Smith”

  1. Zooie
    July 3, 2017 at 6:09 pm

    What entities are co-located with KLS Research? – (to the point, “what interests does KLS represent?”) Note the shared fax and centrex numbers.
    (1) CorpAmerica, Inc., 302/636-5440 (800/877-4224); fax 302/636-5454
    e-mail: info@corpamerica.com
    Website: http://www.CorpAmerica.com

    (2) CSC (Corporate Services Corporation), 302/636-5400 (866 403 5272); fax 302/636 5454
    (Not to be confused with Computer Sciences Corp, recently merged with HP to form DXC.)

    The June 27, 2017 gala opening of this new CSC global headquarters was presided over by CEO Rodman Ward III and Delaware Governor John Carney.
    CSC describes itself as “one of the world’s leading providers of business, legal, financial, and digital brand services to companies around the globe.”
    Privately owned by three families, CSC has 1,000 employees and offers legal, compliance, and trustee services for companies and law firms worldwide.

    The Bessemer Trust wealth-management firm offers the following bio of Ward’s (presumable) father, a member of their board; this shows the multi-generational links between CSC and the very-interesting New York-based international law firm Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom.
    More about Rod Ward, Jr, from his bio at the Bessemer Trust Trustees page:
    Having initially practiced as a litigator, he formed Skadden’s Delaware office in 1979.
    A descendant of C.L. Ward, who founded the Corporation Service Company (CSC) in 1899, Rod is also a senior member of the board of directors of WMB holdings, the holding company of CSC.

  2. Watchdogs
    July 3, 2017 at 7:49 pm

    Good question, Zooie. CorpAmerica is a name applied to KLS and other companies that register with The Company Corporation.

  3. Watchdogs
    July 3, 2017 at 7:50 pm

    Info about registering a business with The Company Corporation –> CorpAmerica is in a consumer complaint here: https://www.complaintsboard.com/complaints/the-company-corporation-wilmington-delaware-c569368.html.

  4. Watchdogs
    July 3, 2017 at 7:52 pm

    Other entities registered at the same address are listed at https://www.bizapedia.com/addresses/2711-centerville-rd-ste-400-wilmington-de-19808.html.

  5. Youre fos
    July 4, 2017 at 5:15 pm

    So according to this article (in their hunch) he formed this business with in the recent two years but according to the BBB it’s a 45 year old company? (as per hyperlink)

    Is this bad research or just straight up lying that’s what I want to know.

    • Watchdogs
      July 4, 2017 at 6:03 pm

      Your confusion relates to the representation of one company by another. The Company Corporation is old. KLS Research, LLC is new.

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