Green Room

An armed coup at FreedomWorks?

posted at 11:43 am on December 26, 2012 by

Today’s must-read comes from WaPo, which claims to have spoken to more than two dozen “associates” of the group about the details of Dick Armey’s acrimonious split.

How acrimonious? Dude:

The partnership came to a crashing end when Armey marched into FreedomWorks’s office Sept. 4 with his wife, Susan, executive assistant Jean Campbell and the unidentified man with the gun at his waist — who promptly escorted Kibbe and Brandon out of the building.

“This was two weeks after there had been a shooting at the Family Research Council,” said one junior staff member who spoke on the condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to talk to the media. “So when a man with a gun who didn’t identify himself to me or other people on staff, and a woman I’d never seen before said there was an announcement, my first gut was, ‘Is FreedomWorks in danger?’ It was bizarre.’ ”

By nearly all accounts, including from those loyal to him, Armey handled his attempted coup badly. 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. The use of internal resources for Kibbe’s benefit could jeopardize the group’s nonprofit tax status; the group denies any impropriety…

Armey appeared out of touch and unsure of how FreedomWorks operated when he took over that Tuesday morning, according to interviews with more than a dozen employees on both sides who witnessed the takeover. Sitting in a glass-walled conference room visible to much of the staff, he placed three young female employees on administrative leave, then reversed himself when they burst into tears; his wife lamented aloud that maybe they had “jumped the gun.”

One of Armey’s big ideas between the time of the coup and his departure six days later was, allegedly, to have the group throw more of its weight behind … Todd Akin.

Obligatory exit question in light of the David Gregory investigation: Did the unidentified “aide” who accompanied Armey have a permit to carry that gun? D.C. law allows you to carry at your place of business if you’ve registered the weapon with the city. Did he?

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