December 5, 2012

Is "the whole tea party movement... in a state of disarray"? The story of FreedomWorks and Dick Armey.

Armey (the chairman) just got an $8 million buyout after questioning Matt Kibbe (the president) over the deal Kibbe made for his book “Hostile Takeover: Resisting Centralized Government’s Stranglehold on America.”
Armey was concerned that Kibbe structured the deal to personally profit from the book despite relying on FreedomWorks staff and resources to research, help write and promote it — an arrangement he and others at the group believed could jeopardize its tax-exempt status. (In 2010, Kibbe and Armey co-authored a book through HarperCollins, “Give Us Liberty: A Tea Party Manifesto,” that was written with significant help from FreedomWorks staff and all proceeds had gone to the organization.)
So Armey declined to sign a memorandum presented to him in his capacity as a member of the board of trustees stating that the book was written without significant FreedomWorks resources and clearing the way for Kibbe to personally own the rights to the book and any royalties from it...
Armey says he was being asked to lie "and it was a lie that I thought brought the organization in harm’s way."

To what extent does FreedomWorks = the tea party? Where did all that money come from?
The eight-year-old group has seen its influence and membership skyrocket since affiliating with the anti-establishment tea party. Its fundraising nearly doubled from 2009 to 2010 (the most recent year for which it would provide tax filings to POLITICO), when it raised $13.7 million, according to those filings with the IRS and the FEC, and played major roles in boosting tea partiers to upset GOP primary victories over establishment favorites.
If you gave them money, how do you like $8 million of it going to Armey because Armey didn't want to lie about Kibbe's supposed tapping of the organization's resources? Maybe Armey was sad that the book he co-authored with Kibbe didn't have an equivalent benefit.
“I wrote this book and it is my property,” [Kibbe] said, adding that he wrote the 416-page book entirely “on my Christmas vacation” last year. Indeed, in the book’s acknowledgements, he thanked his wife, Terry, for letting him “work through the Christmas holiday to meet overly ambitious deadlines without sacrificing the demands of my day job.”
How long is a "Christmas vacation"? Let's be generous and say 2 weeks. He only had to write 30 pages a day. Ever seen anybody write 30 pages a day?
[M]ultiple sources who worked with FreedomWorks and had knowledge of the situation said that several staffers were asked to help research and write the book as part of their work duties. The sources contend that FreedomWorks staff time and resources spent promoting the book detracted from the organization’s ability to mobilize conservative activists ahead of the election...

“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,” one source said. “And that’s not what the organization used to do,” said the source, who predicted more controversy around the organization. “It’s going to get nasty.”
Armey's deal for the $8 million entailed an agreement not to leave until after the election, and Armey himself admits that, saying he was concerned the media would write "that the whole tea party movement was in a state of disarray."

49 comments:

Shouting Thomas said...

Conservatives should not be "activists!" For me, at least, the essence of conservatism is a belief in limited government. You don't limit government by spending your time obsessing about it.

I limit the influence of government in my life by having as little to do with it as possible.

Political activism is the bane of our existence in Woodstock. I wish somebody would throw the switch and de-activate our political activists. They are a pain in the ass.

The Tea Party is certainly alive on Facebook. I hear a lot from Tea Party friends. I hear even more about the Tea Party from liberal friends, who seem to consider the party the spawn of the devil. The venom directed at the Tea Party is so vile it's almost funny.

One of my liberal friends spent an entire day on FB not long ago spitting, cursing and denouncing everything related to conservatism and the Tea Party. In particular she denounced her enemies as "haters" and "intolerant." When I noted that she seemed to be doing plenty of hating, and that she didn't seem so tolerant, she deleted me as a friend.

Which is what liberals usually do.

vet66 said...

When a movement becomes a cause becomes a business. I hope this isn't the case. I expect great things from the Tea Party in the future.

Icepick said...

So Armey got an $8,000,000 pay-out* because he was worried the other guy was going to personally profit from the group? Christ Almighty, I've got no chance in Hell of "making it" if $8,000,000 doesn't count as profitable....

* Not a pay-off because he's talking publicly about his "concerns" anyway.

Icepick said...

Ever seen anybody write 30 pages a day?

I could write thirty pages a day if I wasn't terribly concerned about quality. I could do it for two weeks straight with the help of various PEDs - 'roid me up for outrage and then hit me with some crank (for cranking it out and keeping me cranky).

Icepick said...

Ever seen anybody write 30 pages a day?

Also, use lots and lots of block-quotes from other sources. Not only do the quotes themselves take up a lot of space, but you can double space before and after to eat up even more space.

Also, were those thirty pages a day double spaced as for a manuscript, or formatted more like a letter? If the former then he's only writing 15 'real' pages a day. I could do that without for two weeks without the PEDs.

rhhardin said...

It's too confusing to understand without effort.

What does any organization have to to with the tea party, except in the minds of the MSM?

tim maguire said...

The Tea Party movement is by its a nature in a state of disarray. Most statements I've seen on the tea party fundamentally misunderstand what it is.

Ann Althouse said...

I've done 15 pages a day at times. That's an extremely high level of productivity and it can't be kept up. Writing 5 pages a day is a good norm for being really prolific. One page a day is enough to come across as prolific in ordinary scholarly life.

No one is doing 30 pages a day. It doesn't happen.

Ann Althouse said...

"What does any organization have to to with the tea party, except in the minds of the MSM?"

Since there is no "Tea Party" to contribute to, how does the "tea party" operate? It seems to me that FreedomWorks worked out a little scheme of tapping tea party enthusiasm.

Matthew Sablan said...

On a weekend, I tried to write some fiction. I was able to plow through four or five pages of stuff that I felt was editable into something good before quality dropped off sharply.

When it came to scholarly papers? I think I was one of the only people at my university who actually started research projects as soon as they were assigned, so I never had to cram more than two pages and a full edit by the end.

Ann Althouse said...

It seems like a televangelist taking advantage of people who want to feel like they're giving Jesus money.

AllenS said...

How long is a "Christmas vacation"? Let's be generous and say 2 weeks. He only had to write 30 pages a day. Ever seen anybody write 30 pages a day? -- Althouse

First of all, the 2 week time period was your idea. He could have taken a month. Radio stations start playing Christmas music around Thanksgiving. If you're going to be generous, be generous.

machine said...

Ya think!

Astroturfers trying to keep from getting astroturfed?

Shouting Thomas said...

At least three times in my career, I've been assigned the task of "fleshing out" the company's Diversity policy statement for an online course. The web developer always gets stuck with this.

The assignment is always to produce the script for a 45 minute to one hour course. There are, I'd say, three full paragraphs of substantive content when it comes to the Diversity credo.

I've spent many a day typing one sentence, going to the bathroom, taking a walk around the block and drinking numerous cups of coffee... only to return to my desk with no idea of what to do next.

I could spend a year trying to produce 30 pages on this topic. There's no there there.

Chip Ahoy said...

No, we don't think. That.

That's what Pelosi said. She, knowing exactly what it is, and so sees it where it aint. And you do too. It's why you're appropriately named. There's not a real person there, just a mechanical parrot.

I learned that's one theory of the origin of the phrase 'taking the piss'

It could have a whole bunch of reasonable origins but pisittacus, Latin for parrot, and pistake , Anglo/Norman for parrot are two.

Shouting Thomas said...

Dick Morris is hyper-prolific... and he's always wrong!

O'Reilly once joked that Morris had written a new book while waiting in the Green Room to go on the show.

And, Morris is just about always wrong, too! He predicted a Romney landslide.

sydney said...

Thirty pages a day. Here's a guy who claimed 33 pages a day regularly:

R.F. Delderfield, the English author of family sagas, wrote 33 pages each day, and he wrote until four o’clock in the afternoon. If he finished a novel at three o’clock, he rolled a clean sheet of paper into his typewriter, and began the next novel, and worked until quitting time. He credited a daily swim in the English Channel for his prodigious output.

The article says Victor Hugo wrote 20 pages a day. Steven King says he writes 2000 words a day which is probably about six to seven pages if each pages has 300 words. He doesn't let himself stop before that per the article.

AllenS said...

How many pages of comments have I typed?

sydney said...

That article I linked to, also says this about Graham Greene:

Greene counted each word, and would stop for the day at 500, even if he were in the middle of a sentence.

No wonder reading him gives me a headache.

Jeff said...

They agreed months ago that Armey should leave, but delayed it until after the election. So maybe there is at least a bit of concern for the movement. Or maybe they just didn't want to hurt election-season fundraising.

Of course Kibbe is wrong to exploit the organization for his personal benefit. But Armey taking $8 million from the cause is essentially doing the same.

I still think Dick Armey is as good as politicians ever get. But it's sad to find out that he's not any better.

Icepick said...

sydney, thanks for the link! I remembered an English writer that put out a large volume daily but I couldn't remember who it was.

Cedarford said...


Something Rusty said on a previous thread in the early hours of the morning about debt and who is behind it is worth reprinting. It may give some people pause on who got us in our fiscal predicament:

Rusty said...


Thought this was an interesting chart.


· Under LBJ revenue grew by 25%, but spending grew by 24%.
· Under Nixon revenue grew by 17%, but spending grew by 21%.
· Under Ford revenue grew by 11%, but spending grew by 22%.
· Under Carter revenue grew by 20%, but spending grew by 13%.
· Under Reagan revenue grew by 15%, but spending grew by 25%.
· Under Bush Sr. revenue grew by 17%, but spending grew by 18%.
· Under Clinton revenue grew by 35%, but spending grew by 9%.
· Under Bush Jr. revenue grew by 10%, but spending grew by 25%


While Dems can be blamed for most entitlement programs, aside from Bushs unfunded pork to Big Pharma as free drugs for seniors entitlement.....the chart shows how bad Voodoo supply side economics ..that the Tea Party still believes in ...actually is on the red ink.

Obama looks to break the trend, but historically, it appears that Republicans are more fiscally reckless than Democrats on the Federal level.

(And yes, it is an entirely different story with what Dems in blue cities and blue states have done vs. the Federal story)


Cedarford said...

It is disgusting that both Parties have hogs at the trough basically out to get to the forefront of any new "cause" organization and to then milk it for all the personal wealth they can gain. Armey and Kibbe are little different than Algore's enrichment under his planet-saving causes.

Cedarford said...

I know I've written 30 pages a day on a subject I knew something about, or days when I may have hit 40 typing away...
But left out of that is the days I spend reviewing, editing those 30 pages or so.

Matthew Sablan said...

King, Hugo and Delderfield are all fiction writers though, so I think that's unfair to compare to non-fiction writing.

ricpic said...

The funniest thing about the establishment's (both sides of the aisle) terror of the Tea Party is the way Tea Partiers are portrayed as wanting to kill government, when all they are calling for is no increase in spending, what a radical proposal.

EDH said...

Dick Armey always sounds half drunk to me when he speaks, doesn't he?

garage mahal said...

FreedomWorks: An Armey of Dicks!

Astro said...

Re: the spending stats. Since 1980 spending increased when the Dems controlled the House and spending went down or stayed level when the Reps controlled the House, regardless of the party of the Pres.

phx said...

all they are calling for is no increase in spending, what a radical proposal.

If that's all the Tea Party was calling for I would support them wholeheartedly.

Inga said...

The tea party movement involved themselves in social issues, despite what I've read here that their only concern was taxes and spending. Interesting that the two tea party congressmen just recently got dumped from budget and finance committees by Boehner.

Ignorance is Bliss said...


Is "the whole tea party movement... in a state of disarray"?

Has the tea party movement ever been in a state of array to begin with?

The great thing about a largely leaderless movement is that it is much harder for the media to pick a target and freeze it.

edutcher said...

The Lefties are hoping this is the case.

They don't understand a movement where people think for themselves.

Shouting Thomas said...

Dick Morris is hyper-prolific... and he's always wrong!

O'Reilly once joked that Morris had written a new book while waiting in the Green Room to go on the show.

And, Morris is just about always wrong, too! He predicted a Romney landslide.


No, he was right. The Demos stole it, is all.

TosaGuy said...

The implosion of Freedom Works type organizations won't change the fact that tens of millions of voters think the federal government spends way too much money and has far too much of a negative impact on daily life.

EMD said...

Under Clinton revenue grew by 35%, but spending grew by 9%.

Who ran Congress?

EMD said...

The tea party movement involved themselves in social issues

Elaborate. With proof points, and such.

Shouting Thomas said...

Elaborate. With proof points, and such.

There is no proof.

I run into this blather over and over on FB.

The Tea Party is perceived as white and conservative. Therefore, by definition, it is racist, sexist and homophobic. Conservative white people are the enemy of mankind. The only solution is to proclaim oneself progressive, like Inga, in which case you are one of sainted white people and, thus, exempt from the Evil Eye.

I get hundreds of screeds to this effect on FB.

Marshal said...

edutcher said...
No, he was right. The Demos stole it, is all.


Are you looking to become the next Mick?

Michael K said...

Under LBJ revenue grew by 25%, but spending grew by 24%.
· Under Nixon revenue grew by 17%, but spending grew by 21%.
· Under Ford revenue grew by 11%, but spending grew by 22%.
· Under Carter revenue grew by 20%, but spending grew by 13%.
· Under Reagan revenue grew by 15%, but spending grew by 25%.
· Under Bush Sr. revenue grew by 17%, but spending grew by 18%.
· Under Clinton revenue grew by 35%, but spending grew by 9%.
· Under Bush Jr. revenue grew by 10%, but spending grew by 25%

While Dems can be blamed for most entitlement programs, aside from Bushs unfunded pork to Big Pharma as free drugs for seniors entitlement.....the chart shows how bad Voodoo supply side economics ..that the Tea Party still believes in ...actually is on the red ink.

Obama looks to break the trend, but historically, it appears that Republicans are more fiscally reckless than Democrats on the Federal level.


You omit the situation with Congress during those periods. The low growth of spending under Clinton was due to two factors. Big cuts in defense and a Republican Congress.

I would agree that the GOP Congress under Hastert lost its way but Hastert was a typical Illinois pol and corrupt, as anyone from Illinois would be expected to be.

Armey was a big part of the GOP Congress actions to cut spending in the 90s. After that, I don't know.

The Tea Party may be alive in 2014 or it may have gotten discouraged with this last election. I know I am.

Tina Trent said...

The Tea Party is fine. They are a real grassroots movement -- a range of movements -- and they are growing more politically sophisticated by the day while retaining their principles. The existence of nonprofit organizations aligning themselves with the Tea Party while paying their staff like the Rainbow Coalition is only a reflection on those groups.

They shouldn't expect much in the way of donations in the future. We practice what we preach.

However, nonprofit laws need to be overhauled, apparently for both Left-Wing and Right-Wing abuse of the principle.

Let them be businesses. It used to be that the strength of the Right was its business acumen. Straying into the temptation of nonprofit political advocacy makes some of these guys look like the uncle who's got a great idea for selling t-shirts.

Of course the media doesn't generally criticize lefty groups who shell out huge bonuses and salaries to their leaders -- think Sharpton, Jackson, the unions, the Greenies, the feminists, etc. But that's no excuse for behaving like them . . .

Tina Trent said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
mccullough said...

Freedom Works was a way for Dick Armey and other un-productive former members of Congress not to have to work for a living. He founded it so he could stay in DC and make money, along with working as a lobbyist at a law firm.

If people contributed to Freedom Works, then they were ignorant. This is a good lesson.

mccullough said...

Deficits in this country were low until the Reagan presidency began. Since then, bigger spending taxes has generally been bi-partisan policy.

In 1980, government taxes (federal, state, and local income, payroll, property, sales, excise etc.) brought in 31 cents of every dollar earned. In 2010, government (federal, state, and local) brought in 31 cents of every dollar earned.

So in 30 years, despite the change in the mix of payroll taxes, income taxes, sales taxes, property taxes, excise taxes, the government takes in the same percentage of every dollar earned. But now we spend a lot more, and with the Boomers collecting Medicare and Social Security over the next 25-30 years, we're going to spend even more.

Americans claim to want "limited government" and to be "self reliant" but that's not true. They love Big Government, but just don't want to pay for it. We're the French with more guns and more abortions, is all.

bpm4532 said...

No one said how many words. Many are the thick book in the bookstore where I've been surprised by the size of the print that seems chosen to inflate the book size and indicate a great tome.

Yes, non-profits can be very profitable for the executives of such things. At least Obama wants to stick these folks with higher taxes.

Interestingly, who owns the non-profit? It seems that from the perspective of who profits most, it's the executives that control and exert deaf to ownership.

Rusty said...

EMD said...
The tea party movement involved themselves in social issues

Elaborate. With proof points, and such

I'd be interested in hearing about it too.

Fr Martin Fox said...

This story isn't that surprising to me.

I used to work in movement politics in D.C., and the sad fact is, that among the many earnest people working sincerely for causes they believe in, there are also those who are in it for a buck. A lot of bucks. It's unavoidable.

By the way, I'm not saying anyone here is guilty of anything; rather, if there is something fishy here, it's to be expected.

purplepenquin said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Sam L. said...

First I'd heard about the book brouhaha.

pbAndjFellowRepublican said...

"It seems like a televangelist taking advantage of people who want to feel like they're giving Jesus money."

Ha ha!

Totally unrelated: when can we expect the next pitch re Altcons donating to Meadehouse?

"Show me the money!"