Dick Armey Took Over FreedomWorks in an Armed Coup

Former House Majority Leader Dick Armey joins Tea Party supporters on the grounds of the Washington Monument on April 15, 2010 in Washington, DC. The Tea Partyers gathered in Washington to mark April 15, the day most Americans are required to file income tax returns.
“YEEEEEHAW!” – Dick Army. Photo: Mark Wilson/2010 Getty Images

Why former GOP congressman Dick Armey was paid $8 million to walk away from FreedomWorks, one of the nation’s leading tea-party groups, earlier this year, has been something of a mystery … until now. As the Washington Post reports, it all started when Dick Armey and a veritable dick army seized control of the organization in September:


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.

Armed coups are generally frowned upon, we suppose. Especially when the coup leader, once he takes control, has little idea of how his new enterprise actually operates and suggests things like dumping money into Todd Akin’s doomed campaign. And so it was with Armey, which is why, just six days into his regime, wealthy conservative donor Richard J. Stephenson paid him $8 million to go away.

To be fair, Armey had his reasons for the coup:

Armey says he was stepping in because of ethical breaches by Kibbe and Brandon, accusing them of improperly using FreedomWorks staff resources to produce a book — ironically, named “Hostile Takeover” — for which Kibbe claimed sole credit and was collecting royalties.

Dick Armey Took Over FreedomWorks in Armed Coup