Skip to main content

Dick Armey speaking at CPAC FL in 2011.
When former Rep. Dick Armey's departure from the tea party astroturf group FreedomWorks was announced in early December, Armey said he didn't want to get into the details. Happily for us, other people did want to do that. Immediately after Labor Day, Armey showed up at the FreedomWorks offices with his wife and an aide carrying a gun:
The aim was to seize control of the group and expel Armey’s enemies: The gun-wielding assistant escorted FreedomWorks’ top two employees off the premises, while Armey suspended several others who broke down in sobs at the news.

The coup lasted all of six days.

That's right, the details Armey didn't want to get into included him showing up with a gun-toting aide, which an anonymous staffer points out happened just a couple weeks after the shooting at the Family Research Council. Armey contends that he was responding to unethical behavior by the president of FreedomWorks; specifically, that he used the group's resources to write a book which he then collected royalties on.

But then, Armey found out where the real power was, and it wasn't with the former House majority leader and his armed flunky, it was with the big donors. Richard Stephenson, founder of the Cancer Treatment Centers of America, pushed Armey out and brought the staff he'd fired back, paying Armey off with a promise of $400,000 a year for 20 years and pouring millions more into FreedomWorks. Stephenson was well hidden as a source of the money, of course:

According to public records, FreedomWorks received more than $12 million before the election from two corporations based in Knoxville, Tenn.: Specialty Investments Group and Kingston Pike Development. The firms were established within a day of each other by William S. Rose III, a local bankruptcy lawyer.

Rose, who could not be reached for comment, has said publicly he would not answer questions about the donations. But according to three current and former FreedomWorks employees with knowledge of the donations, the money originated with Stephenson and his family, who arranged for the contributions from the Tennessee firms to the super PAC.

One of the conditions for the contributions was that FreedomWorks spend liberally on Illinois Rep. Joe Walsh (R-Deadbeat dad). Walsh was headed for a 10-point defeat, so we should be glad that even as Stephenson was giving the money, he was insisting it be thrown away.

To recap: a major tea party group, which claims to be totally grassroots and not at all astroturfy, went through a coup carried out by a former House majority leader, his wife, and a gun-wielding aide, only to have the coup reversed through millions funneled through secret "corporations" by a donor whose business is for-profit cancer treatment (which is in no way related to FreedomWorks' fierce opposition to health care reform). Republicans certainly do put the fun in dysfunctional.

Originally posted to Laura Clawson on Wed Dec 26, 2012 at 07:20 AM PST.

Also republished by Daily Kos.

Your Email has been sent.
You must add at least one tag to this diary before publishing it.

Add keywords that describe this diary. Separate multiple keywords with commas.
Tagging tips - Search For Tags - Browse For Tags


More Tagging tips:

A tag is a way to search for this diary. If someone is searching for "Barack Obama," is this a diary they'd be trying to find?

Use a person's full name, without any title. Senator Obama may become President Obama, and Michelle Obama might run for office.

If your diary covers an election or elected official, use election tags, which are generally the state abbreviation followed by the office. CA-01 is the first district House seat. CA-Sen covers both senate races. NY-GOV covers the New York governor's race.

Tags do not compound: that is, "education reform" is a completely different tag from "education". A tag like "reform" alone is probably not meaningful.

Consider if one or more of these tags fits your diary: Civil Rights, Community, Congress, Culture, Economy, Education, Elections, Energy, Environment, Health Care, International, Labor, Law, Media, Meta, National Security, Science, Transportation, or White House. If your diary is specific to a state, consider adding the state (California, Texas, etc). Keep in mind, though, that there are many wonderful and important diaries that don't fit in any of these tags. Don't worry if yours doesn't.

You can add a private note to this diary when hotlisting it:
Are you sure you want to remove this diary from your hotlist?
Are you sure you want to remove your recommendation? You can only recommend a diary once, so you will not be able to re-recommend it afterwards.
Rescue this diary, and add a note:
Are you sure you want to remove this diary from Rescue?
Choose where to republish this diary. The diary will be added to the queue for that group. Publish it from the queue to make it appear.

You must be a member of a group to use this feature.

Add a quick update to your diary without changing the diary itself:
Are you sure you want to remove this diary?
(The diary will be removed from the site and returned to your drafts for further editing.)
(The diary will be removed.)
Are you sure you want to save these changes to the published diary?

Comment Preferences

grytpype, SME in Seattle, bink, Alumbrados, RF, Chi, native, tikkun, mjr, tiponeill, newjeffct, just another vet, chuco35, LuvSet, celdd, eeff, rubyr, cfm, CoolOnion, stevej, marylrgn, jalbert, Cedwyn, Texknight, RoxyTexan, Joe Bacon, TexDem, Diana in NoVa, ybruti, mungley, lyvwyr101, eztempo, Josiah Bartlett, J Orygun, 3goldens, Tinfoil Hat, Nadnerb in NC, subtropolis, Shrew in Shrewsbury, ChemBob, myeye, Dobber, Beetwasher, Annalize5, Sun Tzu, quaoar, markdd, PinHole, Ozzie, Ginny in CO, Box of Rain, barbybuddy, K S LaVida, Patriot Daily News Clearinghouse, Mr Bojangles, edwardssl, tobendaro, BeadLady, dopper0189, Lefty Coaster, A Siegel, twigg, gpoutney, The Hindsight Times, SadieSue, JVolvo, armadillo, middleagedhousewife, Turbonerd, Clive all hat no horse Rodeo, blueoregon, kurt, dochackenbush, Aaa T Tudeattack, asilomar, Cronesense, Habitat Vic, gloriana, FishOutofWater, DvCM, cc, flumptytail, mommyof3, sfbob, newpioneer, jayden, Singing Lizard, jnhobbs, cloudbustingkid, Assaf, fb, SaintDharma32, mamamedusa, Sixty Something, Foundmyvoice, Aureas2, NewDealer, bythesea, theunreasonableHUman, smartdemmg, catly, Notreadytobenice, Parthenia, suesue, lostboyjim, savano66, Neon Vincent, LinSea, Methinks They Lie, Tara the Antisocial Social Worker, kevinpdx, Railfan, Its the Supreme Court Stupid, Sotally Tober, Hoosier Al, mookins, Monkey Man Hermit, ramara, ericlewis0, cocinero, Oh Mary Oh, indubitably, Onomastic, Maximilien Robespierre, Hill Jill, slowbutsure, jm214, BillyElliott, mikejay611, Hohenzollern, badscience, thomask, createpeace, Joe Hill PDX, peregrine kate, Vatexia, cactusgal, ratcityreprobate, RLMiller, Chitown Kev, Mentatmark, Auriandra, stormicats, Siri, LefseBlue, S F Hippie, orpurple, a2nite, JGibson, MartyM, Buckeye54, micwazoo, oldpotsmuggler, Glen The Plumber, Windowpane, DamselleFly, jbob, remembrance, dear occupant, DownstateDemocrat, mtnlvr1946, Southcoast Luna, aresea, Aunt Pat, ET3117, Hey338Too, Demeter Rising, JKTownsend, Ishmaelbychoice, Mickquinas, The Marti, RUNDOWN, Blackhawks

Subscribe or Donate to support Daily Kos.

Click here for the mobile view of the site