Dick Armey Leaves FreedomWorks and Impact On The Tea Party–Videos
Tea Party Turmoil: FreedomWorks’ Dick Armey Takes $8 Million Exit Buyout After Failed
DemocracyNow.org – Former House majority leader Dick Armey attempted a coup within his own Tea Party-linked nonprofit FreedomWorks earlier this year. When that failed, he took an $8 million payout from a millionaire Republican donor to leave. The incident highlighted what is believed to be growing turmoil inside the Tea Party movement after it rose to prominence ahead of the 2010 election. We’re joined by Politico reporter Ken Vogel. “[Armey] did in fact take a hit when he decided to go all in with FreedomWorks and refashion himself as the Tea Party leader,” Vogel says. “There has always been this tug of war in the Tea Party between national groups that have deep-pocketed contributors and benefactors and the actual grassroots.”
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“…Dick Armey left the deep-pocketed tea party group he helped build over a clash with a top lieutenant who Armey and others in the organization believed was using the group’s resources to pad his pockets, POLITICO has learned.
Armey received an $8 million buyout to step down as chairman of FreedomWorks at the end of last month, but the dispute between him and the group’s president, Matt Kibbe, is still straining the organization.
And the turmoil could have far-reaching implications, since FreedomWorks has been among the leading Washington, D.C., groups pressuring Republicans to take a more conservative tact on the fiscal cliff negotiations and other fiscal matters.
The tensions at FreedomWorks, brewing for months, boiled over this summer when Armey balked at a deal that Kibbe struck with HarperCollins to write a book called “Hostile Takeover: Resisting Centralized Government’s Stranglehold on America,” which was released in June.
Armey was concerned that Kibbe structured the deal to personally profit from the book despite relying on FreedomWorks staff and resources to research, help write and promote it — an arrangement he and others at the group believed could jeopardize its tax-exempt status. (In 2010, Kibbe and Armey co-authored a book through HarperCollins, “Give Us Liberty: A Tea Party Manifesto,” that was written with significant help from FreedomWorks staff and all proceeds had gone to the organization.)
So Armey declined to sign a memorandum presented to him in his capacity as a member of the board of trustees stating that the book was written without significant FreedomWorks resources and clearing the way for Kibbe to personally own the rights to the book and any royalties from it, multiple sources familiar with the arrangement told POLITICO.
Asked about his refusal to sign the memorandum, Armey, a former House Republican leader, said, “What bothered me most about that was that he was asking me to lie, and it was a lie that I thought brought the organization in harm’s way.”
After Armey’s concerns came to the attention of the organization’s board at a late August meeting in Jackson Hole, Wyo., Kibbe and the group’s executive vice president, Adam Brandon, were placed on administrative leave in early September and had their cell phones taken away.
Brandon said the board was made aware of the book project months earlier, and Kibbe maintains that the leave didn’t stem from questions about the book deal.
Rather, he said “there was a dispute” with Armey over “competing visions for what FreedomWorks should become and ultimately, the board decided that we fit the vision of the organization.” …”