This borders on the surreal:
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.
When I read the blurb for this story, I thought it was a spoof or some other form of journalistic fiction. But it's for real. My first assumption was that Dick used the gun-toting assistant in an effort to try to impress Tea Party loyalists. But (as usual) money talks and bullshit walks:
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.
The episode illustrates the growing role of wealthy donors in swaying the direction of FreedomWorks and other political groups, which increasingly rely on unlimited contributions from corporations and financiers for their financial livelihood. Such gifts are often sent through corporate shells or nonprofit groups that do not have to disclose their donors, making it impossible for the public to know who is funding them.
But of course, don't expect that lack of transparency to cause the faithful to question their association with FreedomWorks. Couple of flags waving and some trigger words like "Liberty" and "Socialism", and they'll ready to lap up any additional propaganda, regardless of whether they will actually benefit from such nonsense or not.