As Howard Dean’s presidential campaign tore through the millions it raised last year, nearly a quarter of it went to the company owned in part by his former campaign manager.
The campaign paid $7.2 million to Trippi, McMahon and Squier, the Virginia-based consulting and media firm – 23 percent of the $31 million it spent through Dec. 31, according to PoliticalMoneyLine, which tracks political spending.
Joe Trippi, one of the company’s partners, was Dean’s campaign manager for a year – until he was ousted last month and replaced by Roy Neel as chief executive. Dean asked Trippi to stay with the campaign as an adviser, but Trippi quit.
Instead of a salary, Trippi’s company had been paid a commission of the campaign’s television advertising buys – a percentage he and his company’s partners said he never knew.
Trippi should give some of it back. His commercials sucked. They were poorly written and of poor quality. The strategy he picked was a movement politics strategy that couldn’t get off the ground. He has given internet politics — something that was once viable — a bad name.
In short, Trippi directed the candidate to stage left and off the cliff. The candidate may have repeatedly shot himself, but the game was up before it began.
Trippi may have recouped what he lost in the dot com bust, but he choreographed the rise and fall of a most amazing political campaign.