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Former House Majority Leader Dick Armey has cut ties with FreedomWorks, the conservative advocacy group that he has chaired since 2003, according to a spokesman for the organization.
In a tersely worded email, Armey demanded that the organization pay him until his contract expires at the end of the year, drop his name from all publications and fundraising material and return a copy of his official Congressional portrait that hung in its North Capitol Street headquarters. He even “prohibited” the organization from using the guidebook that he authored for incoming freshmen called “Hitting the Ground Running.” The email was first reported by Mother Jones on Monday.
“Effective immediately, I expect that FreedomWorks shall remove my name, image and signature from all its letters, print media, postings, websites, videos, testimonials, endorsements, fundraising materials and social media, including but not limited to Facebook and Twitter,” he wrote in the email dated Nov. 30.
It was not clear Monday night what led to Armey’s abrupt resignation or what it would mean for the future of the organization, which has become increasingly public in its opposition to the Republican establishment. FreedomWorks was not supportive of GOP presidential nominee Mitt Romney and even staged a protest when another tea party group allowed him to speak at an event.
FreedomWorks was also instrumental in the failed tea-party-led effort to oust Republican Sen. Orrin G. Hatch of Utah, as well as the successful ouster of Sen. Bob Bennett in Utah in 2010.
“The top management team of FreedomWorks was taking a direction I thought was unproductive, and I thought it was time to move on with my life,” Armey told Mother Jones. “At this point, I don’t want to get into the details. I just want to go on with my life.”
FreedomWorks spent almost $20 million on independent expenditures through its affiliated super PAC to help elect fiscal conservatives to Congress, according to the Center for Responsive Politics.
“We accepted his letter of resignation, and we wish him well,” said Jackie Bodnar, a spokesman for the group.
One former Armey staffer speculated that the breakup was not as hostile as it sounded.
“I’m going to guess that at the end of the day, we’re going to find that he’s just a cranky 72-year-old man,” the aide told Roll Call. “He’s going to have to stop talking, and FreedomWorks is going to have to talk to their top three or four dozen donors in a way that’s factual and honest.”
An earlier version of this article misidentified the state Sen. Bob Bennett represented.