I’m cueing up the Warren Zevon for this story on FreedomWorks:
[On the day after Labor Day, 2012] 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.
Stephenson, the founder of the for-profit Cancer Treatment Centers of America and a director on the FreedomWorks board, agreed to commit $400,000 per year over 20 years in exchange for Armey’s agreement to leave the group.
Dick Armey is a legend in conservative circles. He was one of the leaders of the 1994 GOP effort that saw them taking both houses of Congress. Yet he’s now done, probably for good.
If you wanted any further confirmation that the Tea Party movement is not now a ‘grass roots’ phenomenon but total rich man’s Astroturf, here it is.