When Joe Trippi left his position as Howard Dean’s campaign manager, he got a lot of sympathy as the fall guy for Dean’s political demise. The press corps liked the amiable Mr. Trippi, and felt that he was being sold short.

But Mr. Trippi didn’t end up too short. According to PoliticalMoneyLine, which tracks campaign financing, $7.2 million out of the $41 million raised by the Dean campaign went to Mr. Trippi’s political consulting firm for “media expenses.”

Now it’s not all that unusual for political ad agencies to take such a large cut of the total. But it is unusual for the person who’s controlling the campaign to be the one whose company gets rich from the campaign. Opinion Journal’s Political Diary (search) notes, “Insiders always joke that the smart guys are in polling, the rich guys are in media. What's unusual is having a media guy who is working on contingency to manage the campaign.”

There was certainly no disclaimer on Dean’s fabled Web site noting that the campaign chairman’s consulting firm would end up with $7 million of the contributions. Mr. Trippi was replaced by longtime Washington-insider and corporate lobbyist Roy Neel, who, like Mr. Trippi, insists that Howard Dean’s campaign is all about ending business as usual inside the Beltway.

And that’s the Asman Observer!