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Dick Armey speaking at CPAC FL in 2011.
The battle for public opinion continues in the aftermath of Dick Armey's armed coup and subsequent ouster at astroturf tea party group FreedomWorks. On the one hand, you have Armey, who brought a gun-wielding aide to his coup attempt. On the other hand, you have the total sleazeball he was trying to get rid of: Matt Kibbe, the president of FreedomWorks, who Armey believed had used FreedomWorks resources to write a book he was personally profiting from.

Kibbe asked Armey to sign a memo affirming that Kibbe was "sole author and copyright owner" of the book and that Kibbe had written the book "on his own time." But, David Corn reports:

As Armey read the document, he saw serious problems. There had been no pre-existing understanding between him and Kibbe to "memorialize," he told me—so the fundamental premise of the document appeared groundless. "Why was he asking me to memorialize an agreement about a subject he never discussed with me?" Armey says. Moreover, he says, until this point he'd had no idea that Kibbe was privately profiting from the book. It had been Armey's impression that Kibbe had utilized FreedomWorks staff for the book. In fact, Armey notes, when he once requested the assistance of a FreedomWorks staffer, he had been told told that person was busy with work on the book. When Armey had read Hostile Takeover, he believed he could even identify which FreedomWorks experts had worked on specific sections.

Yet now Kibbe was stating he wrote the book mostly by himself "on his own time" and that those FreedomWorks employees who helped him research and edit it had also "used their own time." Armey was convinced that was not so. (Another former FreedomWorks official says that Kibbe did use on-the-clock FreedomWorks employees to produce and promote the book, distracting them from other duties: "He was commandeering staff to help him write this book.")

FreedomWorks ultimately bulk-bought copies of the book to get it on bestseller lists, so that Kibbe was directly profiting from FreedomWorks expenditures. Armey and his allies argue, not without reason, that all of this could threaten FreedomWorks' nonprofit status, and Armey's allies have lawyers investigating this and other alleged breaches.

So Matt Kibbe is in all likelihood an unethical asshole who abused his position at FreedomWorks to his personal profit. That said, the only reason Dick Armey is talking now is because he looks bad for having brought a gun to his coup attempt and for having lost out to a big donor who thought it was worth investing millions in keeping Kibbe in control of FreedomWorks. These are powerful players in today's Republican Party, ladies and gentlemen.

Originally posted to Laura Clawson on Mon Jan 07, 2013 at 10:22 AM PST.

Also republished by Daily Kos.

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