The Facts

At last night’s Berkman’s Thursday weblog writers meetings someone mentioned (again) that Joe Trippi’s new project “Change for America” is another way for him to take money from people. I didn’t really know what to say to that so I figured I should look into the facts instead of joining the presumptions. It was never my impression that Trippi was trying to take people’s money when he was working as the campaign manager for the Dean campaign. He didn’t receive a salary and according to an entry on the Change for America website from February 11th (that Mike pointed out to me), he made $165,000 for his 1/3 share of the ad agency’s (where he’s a partner) commission on the $7M television advertising.

The facts are these:

1. I never had budget or check writing authority in the campaign — nor did I have hiring and firing authority in the campaign. The day to day authority of these administrative parts of the campaign were placed by the Governor in the hands of Bob Rogan, his former Chief of Staff at the very beginning of my time with the campaign and lasted until I resigned.

2. I recently inquired about the contract and my compensation. It turns out it was a 7% contract. Meaning that if $7 million in TV was bought 93% went to TV stations to buy the time and 7% or $490,000 was paid to the firm in which I was a partner. My firm has 3 partners so my third or share comes to approximately
$165,000. I will let the grassroots and donors of the campaign decide if that was too much compensation. $165,000 is a lot of money, but it is not the $7 million the media and those leveling the attacks want you to believe either.

So why are they trying to make $165,000 sound like $7 million?

Because how do you stop a movement? How do you stop people from contributing to change their country? Its easy — make them think the whole damn thing was a ponzi scheme to enrich a consultant.

3. My partner Steve McMahon had handled Governor Dean’s media for over 12 years. And Trippi McMahon & Squier were hired as the media firm long before I volunteered to run the campaign when not many would. This is important — because this fact means that as a 1/3 partner in my firm — I would have made the $165,000 in 2003 if I had gone golfing in Fiji for the entire year instead of going sleepless in Burlington.