Several top FreedomWorks staffers are leaving the conservative advocacy group in the wake of former House Majority Leader Dick Armey’s resignation, the organization confirmed Tuesday.
Max Pappas, the group’s former vice president for public policy and government affairs, has left the organization, and Brendan Steinhauser, director of campaigns, will depart on Friday. Two of his staffers, Amanda Shell and David Spielman, have also resigned.
Armey, who served as FreedomWorks’ co-chairman since 2003, cut ties with the group in a tersely-worded email dated Nov. 30. But The Associated Press reported Tuesday morning that the terms of his resignation were set in September under a confidential contract that would compensate him with $8 million in consulting fees, paid in annual $400,000 installments.
Adam Brandon, FreedomWorks executive vice president, said the group was not party to any such agreement and he said the money was not coming from any of the organization’s legal entities, including its super PAC or nonprofits. The contract was negotiated by FreedomWorks board member Richard J. Stephenson, the founder and chairman of the Cancer Treatment Centers of America, according to The Associated Press.
“That has nothing to do with us. I haven’t seen [the contract] and even if I had, it has nothing to with FreedomWorks,” said Brandon. “Armey resigned, and we are done.”
In the past year, FreedomWorks’ leaders have become increasingly divided over the direction of the organization, multiple sources close to the group told Roll Call Tuesday.
Brandon confirmed that he and the group’s president and CEO, Matt Kibbe, were placed on administrative leave for several days in early September, but declined to discuss the circumstances of the board’s decision to temporarily remove them from the staff.
“I don’t think I’m at liberty to say it, but it goes back to the direction issue,” Brandon said.
Rep. Elijah Cummings, D-Md., right, hugs Harold Schaitberger, General President of the International Association of Fire Fighters, after the Congressman spoke at the IAFF's Legislative Conference General Session at the Hyatt Regency on Capitol Hill, March 9, 2015. The day featured addresses by members of Congress and Vice President Joe Biden.