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The Parasites Among Us

By Greg L | 4 December 2012 | National Politics, Virginia Politics | 3 Comments

I have no use for political miscreants like Dick Armey who try to hijack grassroots movements for their own purposes, or for self-styled “leadership” organizations such as FreedomWorks that seem far more interested in gaining ownership of local Tea Parties than doing anything that substantially promotes the ideals that drive them.  When Armey and FreedomWorks was trying to bring local Tea Parties under their umbrella, I and many other grassroots activists were deeply suspicious, and as the Associated Press reports today we had good reason to be.  These folks are parasites that suck resources away from the resource-starved grassroots for their personal financial enrichment.

Armey’s deal to step aside from FreedomWorks is netting him a cool $8 million severance package, although that package seems as if it might be funded other than from general revenues of the organization.  Armey’s part-time direct salary of $250,000 a year was funded from about $4 million in annual revenue collected from donors through a direct mail and email fundraising campaign going after anyone and everyone who discloses their contact information to FreedomWorks, and from a number of large donors.  Meanwhile, about anyone saw from Armey’s 18 hour a week effort was his signature at the bottom of a fundraising letter or his name on a press release that hardly any news organization bothered to read.  Armey also got another $300,000 a year from outside sources because of his position with FreedomWorks.

You’d think that someone making $550,000 a year might work tirelessly to build the grassroots, help people get engaged in the political process, and be absolutely everywhere.  Yet have you ever seen this guy other than (rarely) on television?  If you’re a Tea Party activist, did Dick Armey ever call you up and ask what help you might need to be more effective?  Of course not.  Now he’s only going to get $400,000 a year to actually do nothing for FreedomWorks, which pretty much means he’s taking a bit of a pay cut to do pretty much all he was doing before.

I can only imagine what the Virginia Tea Party Federation could accomplish with this kind of funding, and how that might impact what happens in Virginia.  Instead those resources were sucked away by the parasite known as FreedomWorks.

Armey and FreedomWorks are just another symptom of the festering rot endemic within the conservative political movement.  There are a ton of personalities and organizations out there that plead for your money, use part of it to raise their profile among establishment politicians, another part to ineffectively promote policy goals, and often the greatest part to ask you and others for more money.  The point of the exercise is to generate revenue, with accomplishing anything being little more than an afterthought.  That online petition to demand a reduction in government spending isn’t likely to even arrive on Capitol Hill, but the list of signatories on it sure as heck is going to be added to the fundraising list.  There are so many parasites out there, so effectively begging for money with scientific precision, that organizations that could actually make something happen with those donations but aren’t investing in fancy fundraising machinery are starving.

Don’t take this for a moment to mean that all conservative organizations out there care about nothing other than ripping you off for their own financial gain — far from it.  I’ve worked with a bunch of these organizations and plenty of them run lean & mean, work incredibly hard to promote conservative ideals, and well deserve your financial support.  Americans For Prosperity, 60 Plus, Susan B. Anthony’s List, the Center for Immigration Studies, Judicial Watch and plenty more are absolutely wonderful organizations that I have and would happily support.  It’s pretty easy to tell who the good actors out there are, because they actually accomplish results and the first and last things out of their mouths aren’t about you giving them money, but information that educates, inspires and encourages, and these organizations actually do something other than simply fundraise.  Earning a living in the conservative movement isn’t wrong, as long as earning as luxurious a living as possible isn’t the exclusive objective of your involvement.

When you take even the most cursory look at what they do, the bad actors stand out in pretty strong relief.   One local elected official in a neighboring county runs one of these that is so outrageous in it’s brazenly unethical behavior of fundraising for the purpose of only enriching himself and conducting additional fundraising that I am amazed he hasn’t been prosecuted for fraud.  The lesser-known sister of one of our national conservative icons engages in precisely the same behavior in a different neighboring county.  We have fraudsters in Virginia that raise money by making you believe they’ll actually do something to protect your Second Amendment rights when pretty much all they do is enrich themselves.   These folks are long on vague promises of what they’ll do with your money if you give it to them, but their actual track record of accomplishment is zero.  These parasites are everywhere, and they’re the ones bombarding your phone with robocalls, stuffing your mailbox with fundraising letters, and urging you to “help send a message to Congress!” or “help us mobilize the electorate” with your donations.

These parasites are bleeding the conservative movement dry.



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3 Comments

  1. Skepp said on 4 Dec 2012 at 5:55 pm:
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    Armey gave me the willies already when he was in Congress!

  2. Anon said on 4 Dec 2012 at 6:17 pm:
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    Very true!

  3. Jack Slimp said on 6 Dec 2012 at 1:20 am:
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    Time to start a list of the “no accounts.”

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