Dick Armey, the former House Majority Leader, is leaving his job with top Washington lobbying firm DLA Piper, citing negative attention that the firm is receiving thanks to the role of Armey’s corporate-backed outfit, FreedomWorks, in turning out protesters to shut down town hall meetings on health care.
In a Friday afternoon news dump, Armey, a committed anti-government extremist, gave Politico the following statement:
It is painful and frustrating to see a good, decent, able and effective partnership of honorable men and women and their clients attacked for things in which they are not involved simply because of their association with me. One would expect a higher degree of competence and professionalism from members of the media than spurious attacks on innocent bystanders.Let me be perfectly clear about DLA Piper. It is a fine firm with good, competent people. It has been my privilege to be associated with them, and I will miss them. I am leaving the firm with regret but also with anticipation of being more fully engaged in the nation’s struggle and without having attacks on me being directed at others.
It is imperative for me, within the context of my life’s work in the defense of personal liberty against the encroachments of big government, to give my undivided attention to the work we do at FreedomWorks. In short, the threat to personal liberty in America is so serious and imminent at this time that it requires the full commitment of my efforts. While I consider it a personal sacrifice to leave DLA Piper, it is a sacrifice I must make in light of the important work I am committed to at FreedomWorks.
Reading between the lines here, it looks like DLA Piper — concerned about Armey’s activism against an administration it seeks to influence — pushed him out.
FreedomWorks has played a major role in coordinating the efforts of the right-wing Tea Party movement, including on opposing health-care-reform.
And as TPMmuckraker reported this morning, it also is helping to fund astroturf events aimed at blocking climate change legislation.
As Politico notes, MSNBC’s Rachel Maddow earlier this month brought up the issue of DLA Piper’s complicity in Armey’s work with FreedomWorks, telling viewers:
In addition to fronting [FreedomWorks], Dick Armey is a senior policy adviser at a law firm called DLA Piper. DLA Piper just happens to have received $830,000 this year, so far, from a giant pharmaceutical firm called Medicines Co. This, after the $1.5 million Medicines Co. paid Mr. Armey’s firm last year.
Late Update: Armey and Maddow may get a chance to hash the issue out this Sunday morning, when both appear on a Meet The Press panel on health care.