FreedomWorks: Misbehavior to include fake panda sex
From David Korn’s article in Mother Jones:
An internal investigation of FreedomWorks—the prominent conservative advocacy group and super-PAC—has focused on president Matt Kibbe’s management of the organization, his use of its resources, and a controversial book deal he signed, according to former FreedomWorks officials who have met with the private lawyers conducting the probe. One potential topic for the inquiry is a promotional video produced last year under the supervision of Adam Brandon, executive vice president of the group and a Kibbe loyalist. The video included a scene in which a female intern wearing a panda suit simulates performing oral sex on Hillary Clinton. [Author's note: The previous sentence contains no typos.]
Throw in that this uber conservative advocacy group had its chairman and trustee of FreedomWorks, Dick Armey roaring in with his wife and a man packing heat to the offices, add some Panda sex, and it appears that there is a recipe for disaster. Armey resigned via email in fall 2012 to Matt Kibbe who is described as president and CEO of Freedomworks. Just sorting out the who’s who of this organization would take a genius. (too many chiefs?) Something seems rotten in the state of tea party.
According to wikipedia:
Mother Jones reported that Armey’s reasons for resigning were “matters of principle. It’s how you do business as opposed to what you do. But I don’t want to be the guy to create problems.” The Associated Press reported that in September 2012, Armey agreed to resign by November 2012 in exchange for $8 million in consulting fees paid in annual $400,000 installments.
On December 25, 2012, The Washington Post reported that Armey had escorted Matt Kibbe and FreedomWorks’ vice president Adam Brandon out of the FreedomWorks offices with the help of an armed guard on September 4, 2012. Armey reportedly wanted FreedomWorks to support Todd Akin after his controversial “legitimate rape” comments.
Freedomworks has been accused of running a cult-like organization. Repercussions from reports of huge amounts of in-fighting prompted two of the board of trustees to begin their own inquiry, according to Mother Jones:
In December, after months of bitter in-fighting, two members of FreedomWorks’ board of trustees—C. Boyden Gray, the White House counsel for President George H.W. Bush, and James Burnley IV, a secretary of transportation during the Reagan years—notified Kibbe that they had received “allegations of wrongdoing by the organization or its employees” and had hired two lawyers, Alfred Regnery and David Martin, to investigate. Soon after, Regnery and Martin began interviewing past and present FreedomWorks employees and officials. This list included Dick Armey….
Prepare for an implosion. Freedomworks has been described as the grandfather of all the tea party groups, an epicenter as it were. The Panda sex isn’t apparently what sparked the internal investigation. That was just one of its discoveries during the inquiry.
In investigating this story, I became aware of a very embarrassing aside to this story. As I read this confusing account by David Korn, a name caught my eye. James Burnley is my cousin. To be accurate, double first cousin twice removed. His grandfather, Jim, whom I was very fond of and my grandfather were double first cousins. James and I do not know each other, however. I am most embarrassed to have a tea party cousin. At least he was on the right side of the panda story and was a whistle blower…. Things could be a lot worse.
When asked for comment on the film, Burnley refused to discuss it (I don’t blame him):
Asked to comment on the film, Burnley did not indicate whether the lawyers were examining this matter or whether the board of trustees was aware the video had been made. In an email, he noted, “I’m not comfortable being drawn into a dialogue with you about such allegations. I believe this is a situation in which a ‘middleman’ doesn’t make sense. If those who say they have such information about such matters will communicate directly with me, I would be most appreciative…Of course, if the allegations are plausible, I will have to follow up appropriately.”
Both our grandfathers, who were rather straight-laced Presbyterians, would be rolling over in their respective graves, if they had an inking that either Jamie or I even knew about such tawdry incidents.
Meanwhile, James Burnley and crew ought close down Freedomworks. These are not the people I want setting policy or guiding others to set policy for my country. They just sound like another batch of hypocrites.