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Dick Armey

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This article is part of the Tobacco portal on Sourcewatch funded from 2006 - 2009 by the American Legacy Foundation.

Dick Armey is the former[1] Chairman of FreedomWorks (previously Citizens for a Sound Economy (CSE), and co-chairman of the Alliance for Retirement Prosperity. A lifelong Republican, Armey served as Majority Leader of the U.S. House of Representatives from 1995 to 2002.[2]

Ties to the American Legislative Exchange Council

On August 5th, 2011, Armey spoke at a plenary session of the 38th Annual Meeting of the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) in New Orleans, Louisiana.[3] The Institute for Policy Innovation, which Armey founded in 1987, is also an ALEC member.[4] Bartlett Cleland, Director of the Center for Technology Freedom at the Institute for Policy Innovation, represents IPI as a co-chair of the ALEC Telecommunications and Information Technology Task Force.[5]

About ALEC
ALEC is a corporate bill mill. It is not just a lobby or a front group; it is much more powerful than that. Through ALEC, corporations hand state legislators their wishlists to benefit their bottom line. Corporations fund almost all of ALEC's operations. They pay for a seat on ALEC task forces where corporate lobbyists and special interest reps vote with elected officials to approve “model” bills. Learn more at the Center for Media and Democracy's ALECexposed.org, and check out breaking news on our PRWatch.org site.


Biography

Armey graduated in 1963 from the University of North Dakota with a Masters in economics and a Ph. D from the University of Oklahoma. He then held a number of teaching positions culminating in a 13-year stint at the University of North Texas.[6] From there he entered Congress as part of the Reagan revolution.

In 1984 Armey was elected as a Republican member of U.S. House of Representatives from Texas.[6]

In 1987 he founded the Institute for Policy Innovation (IPI), a non-profit, non-partisan public policy "think tank" based in Lewisville, Texas.[7]

During his political career Armey worked his way up through the Republican ranks serving as the senior Republican on the Joint Economic Committee and as Chairman of the Republican Conference.[6]

He is described as the main author of the Contract with America, which was promoted by then House Majority Leader Newt Gingrich. In 1995, after Gingrich's demise, Armey became House Majority Leader, a position he held until his retirement from Congress at the end of 2002.[2]

During the 2000 presidential campaign, the campaign to ridicule Al Gore was organized through Armey's congressional office. "We would just kind of compile stuff and send it out to talk radio and to members," said Armey spokeswoman Michele A. Davis.[8]

The Republican PR machine spun Gore's statement about his role in policy development to imply a claim that he technically developed the Internet. A news release by Armey was one of the notable barbs in this campaign. "If the Vice President created the Internet then I created the Interstate highway system," Armey stated.[9]

During 2002 he was Chairman of the Select Committee on Homeland Security. In August 2002 he said that an "unprovoked attack" on Iraq would be illegal. "If we try to act against Saddam Hussein, as obnoxious as he is, without proper provocation, we will not have the support of other nation states who might do so," Armey said. "I don't believe that America will justifiably make an unprovoked attack on another nation. It would not be consistent with what we have been as a nation or what we should be as a nation."unjustifiable.[10]

In January 2003 he was appointed Co-chairman of CSE, later becoming Chairman.[11]

Armey is also listed with the Premiere Speakers Bureau as being available for conference programs with an indicative speaking fee of $25,000 for a keynote speech and $20,000 for non-profits. According to the Premier profile Armey prefers to speak on "Negotiation, Peak Performance, Politics & Current Events, Society And Culture, Strategy" and that he requires first class tickets for two from Dallas.[12]

"Now retired from Congress, Armey continues to speak with warmth and wit on crucial issues such as the Electronic Revolution and the Economy, How Homeland Defense Affects the Lives of All Americans, The Imperative for Tax Simplification [and] Why We Must Support Israel", the bureau bio note states.[12]

With his Alliance for Retirement Prosperity hat on, Armey advocates a radical overhaul of social security and personal responsibility for retirement incomes. "We must transform Social Security completely. We must change it from an unfunded tax-and-transfer government program into a fully-funded personal retirement accounts plan where every worker can save, invest and build a nest egg," he wrote in a June 2004 opinion column.[13]

"The good news is there is already a way to do this. The Alliance for Retirement Prosperity has developed just such a solution. I co-chair this organization along with former vice presidential candidate Jack Kemp and former Commissioner of Social Security Dorcas Hardy. We support an economically optimal solution that leaves everyone better off," he wrote.[13]

Dick Armey's Resignation from FreedomWorks

Dick Armey resigned as chair of FreedomWorks on November 30, 2012, sending his resignation to their CEO and President Matt Kibbe. Armey stated this was "effective immediately." Mother Jones reported his resignation December 3, 2012; FreedomWorks nor Armey made the resignation public.

"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. "Obviously I was not happy with the election results," he says. "We might've gotten better results if we had gone in a different direction. But it isn't that I got my nose out of line because we should've done better." Asked if his disagreements were ideological or tactical, he replies, "They 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."[14]

Armey will receive $8 million in consulting fees from the group, paid in annual $400,000 installments.[15] According to the contract, Armey's consulting fees will be paid by Richard J. Stephenson, a prominent fundraiser and founder and chairman of the Cancer Treatment Centers of America, a national cancer treatment network. Stephenson is on the board of directors of FreedomWorks.

His resignation memo:

November 30, 2012
To: Matt Kibbe, President, FreedomWorks Inc.
From: Honorable Richard K. Armey
Regarding: Resignation
This is to inform you that as of 5:00 P.M. ET on November 30, 2012 I resign my position of Trustee at FreedomWorks, Inc. and my positions of Chairman of FreedomWorks and FreedomWorks Foundation.
As I resign from all board positions and duties, please see below a list of dispositions on outstanding issues: I expect to be fully compensated through the expiration date (December 31, 2012) of my current consulting contract with FreedomWorks. Henceforth FreedomWorks shall be prohibited from using my name, image, or signature in any way or for any purpose without my written permission or in the event of my death, without my heirs written permission.
Effective immediately I expect that Freedom Works shall remove my name, image, and signature from all its letters, print media, postings, web sites, videos, testimonials, endorsements, fund raising materials, and social media, including but not limited to Facebook and Twitter. I expect to receive via email at [redacted] by the close of business, December 4, 2012, all user names, passwords, security questions, and security answers for all accounts, web sites and social media, including but not limited to Facebook and Twitter, created in my name.
Effective immediately FreedomWorks is prohibited from using my booklet or any updated versions of my booklet "Hitting the Ground Running" without my written permission which I innovated while still in congress and trusted to Max Pappas to update for new member orientation. I request that FreedomWorks deliver the copy of my official congressional portrait to my home in Texas.

Others formerly affiliated

Just prior to Citizens for a Sound Economy morphing into Freedomworks and Americans for Prosperity Dick Armey was CEO/President and Tom Posey was Treasurer, with David H. Koch and C. Boyden Gray sharing seats at the the Board of Directors. Tom Posey was the bagman in the Iran-Contra Scandal transporting money and weapons to the Contras in Nicaragua through his mercenary group Civilian Military Assistance. During this moment C. Boyden Gray was heir to American Tobacco Company fortune participating with CSE, Armey, Koch, and Posey carrying out activities to further the 50-year RICO Organized Crime tobacco frauds. It is significant looking forward that this organization tolerated and approved employee-officers who engaged the overthrow of a popular democratically-elected government.

Records and Controversies

Astroturfing activities

An organization Dick Armey helped found, FreedomWorks was behind the creation of a fake grassroots web site called Angryrenter.com which rallies opposition to "the Obama Housing Bailout." The site urges people to oppose bailing out mortgage companies. The site claims to represent "Renters and responsible homeowners against a government mortgage bailout."

Michael M. Phillips, a reporter with the Wall Street Journal wrote about AngryRenter.com:

AngryRenter.com looks a bit like a digital ransom note, with irregular fonts, exclamation points and big red arrows -- all emphasizing prudent renters' outrage over a proposed government bailout for irresponsible homeowners.

"It seems like America's renters may NEVER be able to afford a home," AngryRenter.com laments. The Web site urges like-minded tenants to let Congress feel their fury by signing an online petition. "We are millions of renters standing up for our rights!"

Angry they may be, but the people behind AngryRenter.com are certainly not renters. Though it purports to be a spontaneous uprising, AngryRenter.com is actually a product of an inside-the-Beltway conservative advocacy organization led by Dick Armey, the former House majority leader, and publishing magnate Steve Forbes, a fellow Republican. It's a fake grass-roots effort -- what politicos call an AstroTurf campaign -- that provides a window into the sleight-of-hand ways of Washington.[16]

Tobacco

As a Representative, Dick Armey was described in the Washington Times as "a chain smoking Texas Democrat" who "says antismoking and other wellness programs should not be promoted as part of health care reform. "If there are no smokers," he reportedly said, "how are we going to pay for health reform? But then again, if we can pay farmers for not growing tobacco, perhaps we can tax nonsmokers for however much they're not smoking."[17]

Lorillard Tobacco supported Dick Armey's re-election in 1998.[18]

Iraq War

Armey voted for the Authorization for Use of Military Force Against Iraq Resolution of 2002 that started the Iraq War.[19]

Former staffers

Articles and resources

Related SourceWatch articles

References

  1. David Corn & Andy Kroll, "Exclusive: Dick Armey Quits Tea Party Group in Split Over Direction" Mother Jones.com, December 3, 2012
  2. 2.0 2.1 Dick Armey, 'Compassionate' Conservatism Was a Mistake, Wall Street Journal, November 7, 2008.
  3. American Legislative Exchange Council, "Solutions for the States," 38th Annual Meeting agenda, on file with CMD, August 3-6, 2011
  4. Telecommunications and Information Technology, ALEC website, Accessed May, 2011
  5. Telecommunications and Information Technology, ALEC website, Accessed May, 2011
  6. 6.0 6.1 6.2 "FreedomWorks Chairman and Former U.S. House Majority Leader Dick Armey", FreedomWorks website, accessed October 2009.
  7. "About the Institute for Policy Innovation", Institute for Policy Innovation website, accessed October 2009.
  8. "A Sustained G.O.P. Push to Mock Gore´s Image", New York Times, October 14, 2000.
  9. Dick Armey, "Armey Applauds Vice President Gore for Ingenuity, Creativity and Imagination", Media Release, March 11, 1999.
  10. "Armey: 'Unprovoked' Iraq War Would Be Illegal", Chicago Tribune, August 9, 2002.
  11. "Dick Armey to Lead Citizens for a Sound Economy", Media release, January 08, 2003.
  12. 12.0 12.1 "Dick Armey", Premiere Speakers Bureau, accessed October 2009.
  13. 13.0 13.1 "Time for political courage on Social Security", Naplesnews.com, June 25, 2004.
  14. David Corn & Andy Kroll, "Exclusive: Dick Armey Quits Tea Party Group in Split Over Direction" Mother Jones.com, December 3, 2012
  15. Jack Gillum & Stephen Braun, "Tea Party group chief quits, cites internal split" Associated Press, December 4, 2012
  16. Michael M. Phillips "Mortgage Bailout Infuriates Tenants (And Steve Forbes): 'Angry Renter' Web Site Has Grass-Roots Look, But This Turf Is Fake", Wall Street Journal, May 16, 2008.
  17. "Inside Politics: Smoking Policy?", Washington Times, May 31, 1994. page 5. Bates No. 2050161682B
  18. Lorillard Political Contribution Master List July 15, 1998. Bates No. 83585613/5645 at page --5631.
  19. Roll call vote, Authorization for Use of Military Force Against Iraq Resolution of 2002.
  20. "Cherry Blossom Festival - Queens and Princesses", Ray Bowers Photography, archived from January 2008.
  21. "Susan Sheybani and Nelson Peacock", New York Times, August 29, 2008.

External resources

  • Armey's Financial and Contributions Profile.
  • An extensive listing of publications about Armey is available at Biographical Directory of the United States Congress, "ARMEY, Richard Keith, 1940", undated, accessed July 13, 2004.
  • Economic Externalities and the Theories of Balanced and Unbalanced Growth. N.p., 1969.
  • Price Theory: A Policy-Welfare Approach. Englewood Cliffs, N.J.: Prentice-Hall, Inc., 1977.
  • It's Long Enough: The Decline of Popular Government Under Forty Years of Single-Party Control of the U.S. House of Representatives. N.p., 1994.
  • The Freedom Revolution: The New Republican House Majority Leader Tells Why Big Government Failed. Washington: N.p., 1995.
  • The Flat Tax: A Citizen's Guide to the Facts on What It Will Do for You, Your Country, and Your Pocketbook. New York: Fawcett Columbine, 1996.
  • A Republican Agenda to Reverse the Clinton Crunch. Washington, D.C.: Heritage Foundation , 1996.
  • "Why We Need the Flat Tax." World & I 10 (May 1995): 90-97.
  • Armey's Axioms: 40 Hard-earned Truths from Politics, Faith, and Life. Hoboken, N.J.: Wiley, 2003.
  • "Caveat Emptor: The Case Against the National Sales Tax." Policy Review 73 (Summer 1995): 31-35.

External articles

Articles by Armey

General Articles