Dick Armey Brings Gun to FreedomWorks Purge; Ends up Coaxed out by Shadowy Libertarian, Reports Washington Post

8afdhappier days Dick Armey Brings Gun to FreedomWorks Purge; Ends up Coaxed out by Shadowy Libertarian, Reports Washington Post

The Washington, D.C. nonprofit,
limited-government political world is no stranger to
testy personal/personnel conflicts, but the fallout at the Tea
Party-connected FreedomWorks between co-bigwigs
Matt Kibbe and former House Majority Leader Dick Armey has been
particularly severe.First, Mother Jones broke the
news at the beginning of the month that Armey was resigning on
decidedly non-amicable terms, in part over what he described as
“matters of principle.” Follow-up reporting by various outlets
indicated that the conflict came to a boil in the summer over the
handling of Kibbe’s book
Hostile Takeover: Resisting Centralized Government’s Stranglehold
on America, that Kibbe had been placed on temporary leave
for a few days in September, and that Armey had eventually agreed
to leave
in part due to an $8 million payday.Now comes a Washington Post
article flush with lurid details about the split. It begins
like this:   
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.
Stephenson, the founder of the for-profit Cancer Treatment
Centers of America and a director on the FreedomWorks board, agreed
to commit $400,000 per year over 20 years in exchange for Armey’s
agreement to leave the group.
Who is Richard Stephenson (who, like Kibbe, did not comment for
the article)?
Stephenson has a passion for libertarian politics stretching
back to the 1960s, when he attended seminars featuring “Atlas
Shrugged” author Ayn Rand and economist Murray Rothbard, according
to those who know him at FreedomWorks. Like Armey, Stephenson was
an early supporter of Citizens for a Sound Economy, the
conservative lobbying group founded by oil billionaires Charles and
David Koch in 1984 that split into FreedomWorks and Americans for
Prosperity 20 years later. The Kochs, known for bankrolling a
variety of conservative causes, kept control of AFP, while
Stephenson and Armey stayed with FreedomWorks.
I know Dick Armey, am friends with Matt Kibbe, and have zero
insight into the conflict, other than knowing through experience
that the way these things look from the outside are often
deceiving, particularly when viewed through the lens of a
mainstream media instinctively allergic to billionaire
non-Democratic political donors. The whole Washington Post

story is worth reading for those interested in such things.Kibbe’s
Reason archive here. Reason.tv has interviewed him
(sometimes with Armey)
several times in the past, most recently in July: 

Original article - 

Dick Armey Brings Gun to FreedomWorks Purge; Ends up Coaxed out by Shadowy Libertarian, Reports Washington Post


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