What If FreedomWorks Leveled With Its Prospective Donors?

Suggestions for the Tea Party-affiliated non-profit's fundraising pitch as its leadership changes

dick armey full.jpg

Dick Armey left the deep-pocketed tea party group he helped build over a clash with a top lieutenant who Armey and others in the organization believed was using the group's resources to pad his pockets, POLITICO has learned. Armey received an $8 million buyout to step down as chairman of FreedomWorks at the end of last month, but the dispute between him and the group's president, Matt Kibbe, is still straining the organization. -- Politico
"For a gift of just $15, you can ensure we have the resources to grow the freedom movement for the future... When the history of this movement is written, we will either look at 2012 as a minor setback or as our great undoing." -- FreedomWorks fundraising email, 11/15/2012

Dear Conservative,

Though President Obama was reelected, FreedomWorks is not giving up the fight for lower taxes, less government, and more freedom. We need your help. As one of our "Partners in Liberty," you can provide us with a dependable stream of monthly support, allowing FreedomWorks to continue building a grassroots army and planning for liberty's needs far into the future.

For example, the resignation of Dick Armey as chairman of our organization after a dispute with Matt Kibbe, our president, has prompted us to initiate a new fundraising campaign: when infighting next threatens to embarrass or destroy our organization, we'll have cash on hand to buy off the appropriate party. You see, in Washington, D.C., think-tank circles, big egos and personal pique are common, especially among the sorts of people who rise to leadership positions.

Strange as it may seem to those of you in the rest of America, the city where we're headquartered (and from which we won't relocate) is so corrupting and entitled that a man who spends years soliciting money from hardworking Americans on behalf of a non-profit would often sooner see it damaged or destroyed than step down quietly. In fairness, sometimes the malcontent in question has a legitimate grievance -- it's often difficult to judge these things from the outside -- but his eagerness to tell the truth about questionable behavior (exposing it to the liberal media) can usually be successfully reined in with a seven-figure "golden parachute."

In this town, that's the price of fighting the takers on behalf of the makers.

This movement has never been just about one candidate, one election cycle, or one legislative battle. It's about building a community of likeminded Americans to advance the principles of limited government, free markets, and individual liberty. We will continue building the freedom community larger and stronger -- and when someone we've employed as an organizational leader next threatens that community or our place within it, we'll spare no expense to make the situation go away. Bankrolling a former staffer's more elaborate estate in Northern Virginia or more frequent private-plane travel is a small price to pay for securing the liberty of our children and grandchildren. While friends of the organization have provided funds, doubtless diverted from other conservative causes, to help us do so in the past, our aim is to be as self-sufficient as possible in the future, so that there's never any question of our capacity to take the fight to Barack Obama.

Can we count on you to help us?

In Liberty,

[An uncredited staffer on behalf of] Matt Kibbe

Presented by

Conor Friedersdorf is a staff writer at The Atlantic, where he focuses on politics and national affairs. He lives in Venice, California, and is the founding editor of The Best of Journalism, a newsletter devoted to exceptional nonfiction.

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