Dick Armey Dishes On FreedomWorks' Deals With Beck & Limbaugh

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    Former chairman says group wasted money paying Beck $1 million last year for fundraising

    Former FreedomWorks chairman Dick Armey says the conservative outlet that helped launch the Tea Party paid Glenn Beck at least $1 million last year to fundraise for the organization, an arrangement he said provided "too little value" for the money.

    "The arrangement was simply FreedomWorks paid Glenn Beck money and Glenn Beck said nice things about FreedomWorks on the air," Armey, the former House majority leader, told Media Matters Friday. "I saw that a million dollars went to Beck this past year, that was the annual expenditure."

    Armey, who left the organization this past fall after a dispute over its internal operations, said a similar arrangement was also in place with Rush Limbaugh, but did not know the exact financial details.

    "I put it down now as basically as paid advertising for FreedomWorks by Beck," Armey said, calling it a mistake.

    Media Matters contacted Armey after Mother Jones magazine published a leaked copy of the document FreedomWorks prepared for its Winter 2012 board of directors meeting. That document alluded to "embedded media programs" for fundraising that featured the two conservative radio hosts and claimed that fundraising efforts featuring them raised nearly $1.3 million in 2012, not including event ticket sales from third-party vendors.

    From the leaked FreedomWorks document:

    Graph

    Mother Jones further reported that the organization "plans to continue its financial support for Glenn Beck's media enterprise, including sharing a TV studio with and leasing office space to the Washington bureau of TheBlaze, Beck's website and TV network."

    Armey said he was told of the Beck arrangement when it first began, but that it would only cost the organization about $250,000 a year. "Once that was approved by the trustees, it then took on a life of its own, it got bigger than we understood it to be. All of a sudden it was we are paying Limbaugh as well as Beck." FreedomWorks did not respond to repeated requests for comment.

    Beck has been reading on-air appeals for FreedomWorks since at least April 2010. In June of that year, Media Matters reported that the organization was using Beck's endorsement to raise money. Politico highlighted the relationship as an example of a conservative group "paying hefty sponsorship fees to the popular talk show hosts" in exchange for "regular on-air plugs." The FreedomWorks document leaked to Mother Jones states that their fundraising relationship with Limbaugh began in 2012.

    According to Armey, such programs are ineffective.

    EXCLUSIVE: Dick Armey Dishes On FreedomWorks' Deals With Beck & Limbaugh | Blog | Media Matters for America
     

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