Heritage And FreedomWorks Backed The Shutdown. Now Both Are In Big Trouble.
Posted by Phoenix Woman on October 12, 2013
I read the news today, oh boy:
Report: Tea party group FreedomWorks is in deep financial trouble
The conservative activist group credited with building the tea party has turned into a nearly broke wingnut welfare slush fund, according to former staffers.
Sources told BuzzFeed that FreedomWorks was forced to take out a $1 million line of credit to keep extra cash on hand earlier this year.
The nonprofit organization raised more than $40 million last year but has taken in as little as $3 million so far this year, the site reported Friday, and staffers are reportedly fleeing the group as morale plummets.
The group had fallen on hard times since co-chairman Dick Armey tried to gain control of FreedomWorks in September 2012 from top executives Matt Kibbe and Adam Brandon, the sources said.
That reminds me of this bit of recent news:
The story of the conservative movement that has come to dominate the Republican Party over the last four decades is inextricably intertwined with the story of the Heritage Foundation. In that time, it became more than just another think tank. It came to occupy a place of special privilege — a quasi-official arm of GOP administrations and Congresses; a sponsor of scholarship and supplier of legislation; a policy base for the party when out of power. Heritage has shaped American public policy in major ways, from Reagan’s missile-defense initiative to Clinton’s welfare reform: Both originated as Heritage proposals. So, too, did the idea of a universal health-care system based on a mandate that individuals buy insurance. Though Heritage subsequently abandoned it, the individual mandate famously became the basis of health-care reforms proposed by Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney and President Barack Obama.
These days, Heritage has a different crusade. The foundation’s president, the confrontational former Senator Jim DeMint, spent the last month touring the country, drawing cheering crowds as he demanded that Republican politicians insist that Obamacare be defunded — and denouncing those who wouldn’t go along.
Mickey Edwards, one of three founding trustees of the Heritage Foundation when it began in 1973, was one of those disturbed by Heritage’s turn, which, he told me, “makes it look like just another hack Tea Party kind of group.”
A former eight-term Republican congressman from Oklahoma, Edwards now serves as vice president of the Aspen Institute. “They’re destroying the reputation and credibility of the Heritage Foundation,” he added. “I think the respect for their [policy] work has been greatly diminished as a result.”
The defund push is only the latest in a series of recent political battles Heritage has undertaken — crusades against Republican politicians that have led to a rash of complaints. Representative Renee Ellmers called them “bullies.” Representative Lynn Westmoreland said the think tank had “lost credibility with the people that were most supportive of them.” Senator Tom Coburn accused Heritage Action of “destroying the Republican Party.”
Behind the scenes, GOP staffers complained that the organization they once looked to for intellectual ammunition had become a thorn in their side. Brian Walsh’s first Washington internship was with Heritage in 1996. He rose in Republican politics to serve as communications director of the National Republican Senatorial Committee. In a scathing op-ed for U.S. News headlined “Conservatives Eat Their Own for Profit,” Walsh accused Heritage of taking extreme stands to generate fundraising dollars. “In our great democracy, you affect public policy by offering a vision, influencing a majority of public opinion and winning elections, not by burning down the House, attacking your allies, and falling on your sword,” he wrote.
It’s not a coincidence that these two groups are, along with the Club for Growth, the main drivers goading the Republicans in Congress and the Senate into first starting and then continuing the disastrous government shutdown. It’s also no coincidence that they are destroying themselves almost faster than they are destroying the Republican Party — or America.
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