Report: Armey Got $8 Million Buyout to Leave FreedomWorks

Wednesday, 05 Dec 2012 08:25 AM

By Martin Gould

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Former House majority leader Dick Armey received an $8 million payout to leave FreedomWorks, the tea party umbrella group he founded, a report claims.

Politico says a backer of the influential conservative organization paid him to stall a battle between Armey and FreedomWorks president Matt Kibbe over profits from a book Kibbe wrote.

FreedomWorks board member Richard Stephenson agreed to pay Armey 20 annual installments of $400,000 provided he stayed on until after the election, the Associated Press reported. Armey confirmed that figure to Politico.

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Armey quit FreedomWorks on Nov. 30 with a terse email to Kibbe in which he demanded the group no longer use his name or image or a booklet he had prepared for freshmen House members. He even demanded they return his official House portrait to his Texas home.

Politico says the fight was prompted because Armey thought Kibbe was profiting from his book “Hostile Takeover.” Armey believed that, because FreedomWorks staff helped him, profits from the book should be plowed back into the organization. Otherwise, he argued, the group was in danger of losing its tax-exempt status.

Politico says Armey refused to sign a memo that the staff had not helped Kibbe write the book in any significant way. “What bothered me most about that was that he was asking me to lie, and it was a lie that I thought brought the organization in harm’s way,” Armey told the website.

According to Politico both Kibbe and executive vice president Adam Brandon were placed on administrative leave in September. Brandon told Politico that was over “competing visions” of the group’s future, rather than because of the book.

Kibbe said he had only made around $50,000 from “Hostile Takeover,” while its value to FreedomWorks was in the millions. He said he wrote it on his Christmas vacation last year. “I wrote the book and it is my property,” he said.

He told Newsmax it was time for a younger generation to take over following the disappointing election results. “Dick has been working in the trenches a long time — and he’s 72 years old, and he decided that it was time to move on."

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He said, “We did some amazing things together. But if you think about the world we’ve been in in the last three or four years, it’s time for younger voices, new leadership, and that’s just the natural course of things — and that’s where we’re headed at FreedomWorks."

One unidentified source within FreedomWorks told Politico the internal battle is far from over. “It’s going to get nasty,” the source said.

“The fear is the organization will become a 5 million-member marketing organization that simply sells books and movies and T-shirts and raises money. And that’s not what the organization used to do."

Click here to read Matt Kibbe's interview with Newsmax.

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