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Dick Armey angrily quits FreedomWorks over "principles"; gets $8 million golden parachute (Matt Kibbe) (SEE UPDATES)

Former House majority leader Dick Armey has resigned as Chairman of FreedomWorks, one of the main organizations pulling the strings on the Tea Parties movement. Armey's resignation letter is at [1] and, as you can see, it wasn't an amicable split.

Don't worry about Armey however: he'll be getting an $8 million golden parachute [2].

The big question is who'll get the kids. Before he helped create the Teapartiers, Armey created a much less successful but no less astroturf "Angry Renter" group. Will Armey create his own Teaparty variant? Or, will he concentrate on lobbying and consulting?

Freedom Works will continue on with their president and CEO Matt Kibbe, but one of the main arguments against them - that they were led by the illegal immigration-supporting Armey - no longer applies. Almost all of their members probably won't leave with Armey, but they'll lose Armey's connections to the Washington establishment. That might hurt them in some ways, but it will at least help their image with the Teaparty base.

UPDATE: Per Ed Morrissey quoting FreedomWorks press secretary Jacki Bodnar, the $8 million isn't from FreedomWorks itself.

As for the possible why of the split, it gets better ( peekURL.com/zX4DMHt ):

The tensions at FreedomWorks, brewing for months, boiled over this summer, when Armey balked at a deal that Kibbe struck with HarperCollins to write a book called "Hostile Takeover: Resisting Centralized Government's Stranglehold on America," which was released in June.

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, multiple sources familiar with the arrangement told POLITICO.

Asked about his refusal to sign the memorandum, Armey, a former House Republican leader, said, "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."

After Armey's concerns came to the attention of the organization’s board at a late August meeting in Jackson Hole, Wyo., Kibbe and his executive vice president Adam Brandon were placed on administrative leave in early September and had their cell phones taken away.

As could be expected, Kibbe denies that the book was the issue.

A possible "Armeyite" who left FreedomWorks recently is Max Pappas, and Brendan Steinhauser will be leaving soon.

12/26/12 UPDATE: It just keeps getting better and better (link):

The day after Labor Day [2012], 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.

...In the weeks before the election, more than $12 million in donations was funneled through two Tennessee corporations to the FreedomWorks super PAC after negotiations with Stephenson over a preelection gift of the same size, according to three current and former employees with knowledge of the arrangement. The origin of the money has not previously been reported.

...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.

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[1] Mother Jones has a copy of the resignation letter ( peekURL.com/zuY3DXr ):

This is to inform you that as of 5:00 P.M. ET on November 30, 2012 I resign my position of Trustee at FreedomWorks, Inc. and my positions of Chairman of FreedomWorks and FreedomWorks Foundation.

As I resign from all board positions and duties, please see below a list of dispositions on outstanding issues: I expect to be fully compensated through the expiration date (December 31, 2012) of my current consulting contract with FreedomWorks. Henceforth FreedomWorks shall be prohibited from using my name, image, or signature in any way or for any purpose without my written permission or in the event of my death, without my heirs written permission.

Effective immediately I expect that Freedom Works shall remove my name, image, and signature from all its letters, print media, postings, web sites, videos, testimonials, endorsements, fund raising materials, and social media, including but not limited to Facebook and Twitter. I expect to receive via email at [redacted] by the close of business, December 4, 2012, all user names, passwords, security questions, and security answers for all accounts, web sites and social media, including but not limited to Facebook and Twitter, created in my name.

Effective immediately FreedomWorks is prohibited from using my booklet or any updated versions of my booklet "Hitting the Ground Running" without my written permission which I innovated while still in congress and trusted to Max Pappas to update for new member orientation. I request that FreedomWorks deliver the copy of my official congressional portrait to my home in Texas.

[2] From this:

A confidential contract obtained by The Associated Press shows that Armey agreed in September to resign from his role as chairman of Washington-based FreedomWorks in exchange for $8 million in consulting fees paid in annual $400,000 installments. Dated Sept. 24, the contract specifies that Armey would resign his position at both FreedomWorks and its sister organization, the FreedomWorks Foundation, by the end of November.

According to the contract, Armey's consulting fees will be paid by Richard J. Stephenson, a prominent fundraiser and founder and chairman of the Cancer Treatment Centers of America, a national cancer treatment network. Stephenson is on the board of directors of FreedomWorks.

Tue, 12/04/2012 - 11:38 · Importance: 4