Skip to comments.Why Dick Armey resigned from his tea party organization
Posted on 12/05/2012 11:29:10 AM PST by servo1969
WASHINGTON Dick Armeys resignation as chairman of FreedomWorks follows months of turmoil, accusations of unethical behavior, top officials being put on administrative leave and a wave of staff departures inside the tea party-affiliated organization.
Multiple sources inside FreedomWorks told The Daily Caller that Armeys resignation made public this week but in the works for months came about after the former House Majority Leader became angry with how FreedomWorks CEO and president Matt Kibbe was operating the organization.
We had serious differences of opinion about the process of how you do business and I wanted to move on, Armey told TheDC in a Tuesday phone interview.
FreedomWorks, formed in 2004, has established itself as a prominent player in campaign politics. It is known for organizing large tea party rallies and in backing conservative candidates in races across the country.
The tension between Armey and Kibbe boiled over in August, according to sources, when Armey found out about the details surrounding Kibbes new book, Hostile Takeover: Resisting Centralized Governments Stranglehold on America.
Armey, who in September accepted a $8 million consulting contract in return for leaving FreedomWorks after the election, was outraged that Kibbe and not FreedomWorks would earn money from the book. The royalties from a previous book co-authored by Kibbe and Armey went directly to the organization.
Despite a request from Kibbe, Armey refused to sign a document for the book deal. In September, Kibbe and Adam Brandon, a top official who helped Kibbe secure the book deal, were temporarily put on administrative leave as the organizations board of trustees looked into the matter and hoped to keep it quiet before the elections, sources said.
Armey wasnt the only one at FreedomWorks uncomfortable with Kibbes actions. Some questioned why Kibbe was on a book tour ahead of the election instead of devoting resources to the election.
Theres unethical behavior going on at the top and there are a bunch of people leaving, one knowledgeable source told TheDC.
Said another source: There is a feeling by a lot of folks that FreedomWorks is shifting over to become a promotion vehicle for Matt Kibbe more than an organization that focuses on public policy and elections and being a service center to the grassroots.
As many as 10 other people including longtime staffers Brendan Steinhauser and Max Pappas have left or are also leaving FreedomWorks, the sources said.
In an interview on Tuesday, Kibbe argued the book helps the organization more than it helps him and the organization is stronger than it has ever been.
We really set out to tell what I consider the FreedomWorks story, the philosophy and decentralized strategy and some of the policy issues that matter, he said of the book.
Kibbe, whose contract with Harper Collins is worth $50,000, said the book is incredibly valuable to FreedomWorks to promoting our agenda, to raising money.
A lot of our most successful high dollar fundraising piece was in fact lifted directly from the book, he said. And Ive used this book to educate both donors and activists.
It was always designed as something that would help FreedomWorks, because thats what I do and thats what I want to accomplish, he said.
Kibbe disputed that Armey resigned over the book.
That had virtually nothing to do with it, Kibbe told TheDC. I think there were just two very different visions about where FreedomWorks was headed.
He also denied that staffers were leaving because of this dispute over the direction of FreedomWorks.
We also have over 50 people on our staff and youre bound to get a certain percentage of turnover at any given time, he said. Thats how this town works and were no exception to that.
According to sources, Armeys tension with Kibbe reached an all-time high over the book. But Armey had other complaints as well: he suspected that FreedomWorks press staffers were bumping him from TV appearances so they could book Kibbe instead. He also thought staff were having to choose between being loyal to Kibbe or loyal to FreedomWorks, and those choosing Kibbe were given preferential treatment.
When it became clear that Armey wanted out of FreedomWorks, Dick Stephenson, one of Armeys longtime friends who is also on the FreedomWorks board stepped in to convince him to wait until after the election to call it quits.
It was feared that the press would have a field day with his resignation, potentially hurting tea party prospects at the polls, sources said.
Armey then secretly signed a consulting contract with Stephenson the Associated Press revealed on Tuesday worth $8 million in $400,000 annual installments, under the condition he wouldnt leave FreedomWorks until after the election.
The question of the timeline was a matter of anxiety over the election, not wanting to upset the applecart before the elections, Armey told TheDC on Tuesday.
Referencing news reports suggesting otherwise, Armey emphasized that the money isnt coming from the FreedomWorks coffers.
I can tell you that any agreement I had with Dick Stephenson in no way was an agreement between me and FreedomWorks, he said.
Armey resigned in an email to Kibbe on Friday. It stayed quiet until Mother Jones, a liberal outfit known for being critical of conservatives and tea partiers, broke the news.
On Monday, hours before the story broke, there were no signs of turmoil as Kibbe held a press availability for 100 local tea partiers that convened at the groups Capitol Hill offices for a weekend conference.
Standing on a platform and surrounded by the activists, Kibbe declared: I think theres more energy in this movement today than there was Nov. 6.
Several feet away from the platform was a box of books titled, Hostile Takeover.
If Nov 6 didn't raise the highest crescendo of energy for the Tea Party, how would its members be more energized now?
Its "members" are indignant that a dirt bag is a self promoter.
He no longer could ride the astro-turf gravytrain, why else...
money money money money money money money money money
I don’t know sh!t from shinola about why he resigned. I can only relate my hesitancy from TP inception that it seemed to me a myriad collection of self-described usurpers of a national sentiment of citizen ill will against over-spending politicians.
To my mind, there is NO official Tea Party, except for the many organizations to represent that amorphous collection of dissatisfied citizens.
To me, this vagueness won’t be vanquished unless and until some national will, congregation, and vote is taken. Until then, just a possible other bunch of posers looking for money while claiming to represent those unnamed masses.
I’m thinkin’ the Tea Party was told to ‘stand down’ during the presidential campaign so as not to negatively impact Romney’s prospects for taking office. THEY SHOULD’VE GONE GALT but it appears they’ve become politicized now and are no longer a grass roots movement. TIME FOR A NEW ONE AND ONE THAT DOESN’T PLAY NICE EITHER!!!!!
” Armey then secretly signed a consulting contract with Stephenson the Associated Press revealed on Tuesday worth $8 million in $400,000 annual installments, under the condition he wouldnt leave FreedomWorks until after the election. “
Quit job, win the lottery..
Looks like we are being sold out on all sides.
We have no leaders of honor, none of stature, none of principle.
Well, today, I changed my registration from Republican to unaffilaited.
I will not let Lucy hold the football for me again.
I am sending a message in the only way left to me right now.
“...Armey, who in September accepted a $8 million consulting contract in return for leaving FreedomWorks after the election...”
Exactly what creative or productive talent does this idiot have - save for the ability to use corruption to divert OUR money to some other corrupt sleazebag?
Any illegal alien contributes more to our economy in a day than the vast majority of our congress-critters do in their lifetime.
I’m sick of them and will pay for a front row seat after the revolution comes and they are all hanged.
Hmmm. So Armey collects $8 MM for a consulting contract and Kibbe collects $50K and there is something about this that Armey cannot abide?
Note: I have no opinion on this, FWIW.
The Tea Party ain't an organization, therefore no other organization can be affiliated with it, and any organization that claims it is, is a liar.
Seems to me that this all stems from.....whose is bigger?
‘Power and Influence’ is the only objective in these type of people! The “Tea Party” phenomena was only an ‘opportunity’ to curry favor and exploit for their own persona gain.
How else to explain ‘Book Tours’ and ‘$8 Million’ payouts concerning these top honchos?
The Tea Party, at least as it existed at the start, simply got rolled by the Pros. It happens.
Thanks for perspective.
I still like Dick Armey. (took some flack here for that opinion.)
I want to know the REASONS for Armey’s exit, other than 8 million pension.