Now that Andy Krull from Mother Jones has let the cat out of the bag about the supposedly “grassroots” Tea Party group FreedomWorks’ true nature as a front for the Koch Brothers and other rich people, disaffected former chairman, Dick Armey, is ready to spill the beans. To further provoke FreedomWorks’ President Matt Kibbe — his ex-rival and non-victim of his failed coup d’état — Tricky Dick Armey dished the dirt to Joe Strupp and the über-liberal publication, Media Matters. Apparently, a $1 million bribe is enough to get a “pundit for the people” like Glenn Beck to say nice things about you, but $8 million isn’t enough to get a duplicitous back-stabber like Dick Armey to shut up. (AI readers may recall that Armey jumped ship from FreedomWorks with an $8 million golden parachute).
In his accessible, incisive, and humorous videocast, Cenk Uygur from The Young Turks highlights a few of Armey’s damaging facts, (which are backed up by the internal documents leaked to Mother Jones):
- FreedomWorks had a line-item in their budget for “embedded media programs” — or, bribing right-wing radio pundits like Glenn Beck and Rush Limbaugh with large amounts of money to give them good publicity and to defend the interests of their deep-pocketed donors.
- FreedomWorks paid Glenn Beck over $1 million (actually $726,060 in 2011 and $859,099 in 2012, according to Strupp’s report) explaining that “The arrangement was simply [that] FreedomWorks paid Glenn Beck money and Glenn Beck said nice things about FreedomWorks on the air.” (Poor Rush Limbaugh, he “only” got $433,484)
- Armey elaborated, “I saw that a million dollars went to Beck this past year, that was the annual expenditure,” and also told Strupp that “I put it down as basically paid advertising for FreedomWorks by Beck.” Apparently, Armey also said it was a big mistake.
- Uygur further explains, “But it’s not just the money they give them flat-out in cash … the organization plans to continue its financial support for Glenn Beck’s media enterprise, including sharing a TV studio with, and leasing office space to the Washington bureau of TheBlaze, Beck’s website and TV network.”
Uygur mentions how this recent news sheds light on what he and his fellow Young Turks newscasters had recently speculated about on-air:
“Where in the world is Glenn Beck getting all this money to run this giant network, when they can’t possibly be making that much money in ad sales or membership fees or anything like that?” After all, these guys know what it’s like to run an independent media network on a shoe string. “Turns out he’s getting it from these right wing donors, to do their bidding for them!” Uygur also marvels at how, “Everything they [conservative pundits] say about liberals [getting money from rich progressives like George Soros], THEY do themselves!”
And the plot sickens. According to Elspeth Reeve’s take on Armey’s revelations for The Atlantic Wire, FreedomWorks’ payouts to Beck and Limbaugh proved to be a lousy investment. Armey said that Beck’s “nice words” were originally “only” supposed to cost $250,000 per year, and that Beck’s and Limbaugh’s efforts accomplished little towards attracting activists and donations:
“If we were using those resources to recruit activists and inform activists and to encourage and enthuse activists, that’s one thing … If we are using these things to raise money; one, it’s a damned expensive way to raise money; and two, it makes raising money an end unto itself, not an instrumental activity to support the foundation work that our organization does …”
And, just as we’re sort of starting to maybe kind of LIKE Armey for his delectable acts of treachery, he makes a lame comparison between FreedomWorks’ financial practices and those of the U.S. Government:
“It is like federal budgeting… We count the receipts we get from people who have sent in money, and we, meaning they, I am not a part of it anymore, do not count what the funds that are laying out are. They don’t say, we paid Beck a million dollars and we had this program where we raised $300,000, you had a net cost of $600,000, or whatever the numbers are.”
To paraphrase AI Editor Wendy Gittleson’s warning about New Jersey Governor Chris Christie, Armey may have done some good, but let’s not invite him to the party.
Here’s Cenk Uygur’s video: