The report confirms what we've said here all along: FreedomWorks is less grass roots and more astroturf than anything else, with the majority of its funding coming from corporate donors, foundations, and big money types. You may recall that Richard Stephenson of Cancer Centers of America is the sugar daddy who bought Dick Armey's $8 million retirement. There's more.
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Via the Washington Post, Act I, The Coup:
The day after Labor Day, just as campaign season was entering its final frenzy, FreedomWorks, the Washington-based tea party organization, went into free fall.
Richard K. Armey, the group’s chairman and a former House majority leader, walked into the group’s Capitol Hill offices with his wife, Susan, and an aide holstering a handgun at his waist. 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. By Sept. 10, Armey was gone — with a promise of $8 million — and the five ousted employees were back. The force behind their return was Richard J. Stephenson, a reclusive Illinois millionaire who has exerted increasing control over one of Washington’s most influential conservative grass-roots organizations.
I'm imagining how bizarre that must have been. Dick Armey riding in on his high horse, with deputies at his side, yanking mutton-chopped Matt Kibbe and his sidekicks off their higher horses, only to have them remount and send him back to Texas with an $8 million stipend to soothe his ruffled feathers.
The crux of the conflict, it seems, is that Dick Armey understood that candidates must actually be electable, wingnut or otherwise. Kibbe, on the other hand, is a slave to purity and believed they should simply support the wingnut candidates against the more moderate Republicans no matter what the outcome.
Mother Jones has more of the details, as the feud got uglier, even post-Dick Armey buyout: