Until Conservatives hold fellow conservatives accountable their message will continue to fall short
Tuesday after communicating with former Majority Leader & former Chairman of Freedom Works Dick Armey (left) for the past week, Sinclair News conducted a candid telephone interview with Armey to allow him the opportunity to tell his side of the story which the conservative media has refused to do. After reading and watching one conservative story after another for the past couple of months attacking Dick Armey we wanted to give Mr. Armey an opportunity to respond to the things which have been reported about him. Sinclair News noticed how the Freedom Works matter had been approached by the conservative media in the same way it seems all stories involving conservative wrong doing have been approached lately: by accusing people of trying to destroy a conservative group while ignoring the actions which brought about the questions to begin with.
After converting the audio recorded interview from Tuesday we discovered that the microphone we used started “phasing” causing the audio of Armey’s portion of the interview to fade completely out. Thankfully we were able to contact Mr. Armey on Wednesday January 16, 2013 and were given the opportunity to conduct the interview yet again using different equipment. (we will publish the complete files of both so as not to be accused of trying to mislead anyone) The audio files below are from the Tuesday 1-15-2013 interview when the microphone began phasing
Sinclair News has since our inception sought to hold everyone to the same standards and we have questioned the actions of organizations with conservative ideals as well as organizations from the liberal spectrum. That being said we contacted Mr. Armey through private message on his FaceBook account asking him to agree to an interview with Sinclair News. In those communications as well as at the start of the interview we made full disclosure to Mr. Armey that Sinclair News has in the past year taken issue with Freedom Works portraying itself as the voice of the TEA Party along with Freedom Works being a paid sponsor of the Ali Akbar organized Blog Bash party at CPAC 2012 and BlogCon and refusing to answer questions as to how much money FW gave to Akbar as well as when Freedom Works first became aware of Akbar’s felony probation status during the months of Jan through May 2, 2012? (Screen shots of those communications as well as emails to Mr. Armey are included at the end of this article)
Below is the complete unedited audio of our interview conducted the second time on January 16, 2012 (we will be uploading the audio from Tuesday’s interview though edited to include only those portions that are audible)
We decided to seek this interview after reading the continued attacks against Armey by RedState’s Erick Erickson and others who according to Armey, never once tried to contact the former Freedom Works Chairman to ask him for his side of the story.
Erickson who challenged Armey’s integrity for speaking with Mother Jones
So Dick Armey shows up with a gun toting security guard to launch a coup against FreedomWorks? OK. What’s telling is that Team Armey is doing a lot of talking to Mother Jones — a far left magazine eager to destroy everyone on the right. Currently, they are engaged in tearing down FreedomWorks.
Armey tells Sinclair News “no one can ever say that Mother Jones is a friend to Dick Armey, and as for my speaking with them; it was Mother Jones who documents were leaked to in an effort to attack me and my reputation.” Mother Jones called me and said “we have these documents from Freedom Works and would like to know if you wanted to comment on them.” “For all the conservative media that is publishing these attacks not a single one of them bothered to contact me and ask me about the claims,” Armey tells Sinclair News.
As for the reports and comments that Dick Armey took the money and ran, Armey is adamant that he is not receiving one penny of money from Freedom Works nor does he want any money from Freedom Works. Armey says the “consulting contract” Erickson refers to is between him and Freedom Works Board of Trustee member Dick Stephenson and has nothing to do with Freedom Works in any way.
Sinclair News last week pointed out that with all the charges from the conservative media about liberal outlets like Media Matters, MSNBC et al distorting the truth and telling out right lies; so too does those who call themselves “New Conservative Media” or “conservative Media.” You Want The Truth? You Can’t Handle The Truth! One of our favorite bumper stickers reads: “Perceptions are Relative…TRUTH IS ABSOLUTE.”( ©1998 by Richard D. Westfall) and it seems to us anyway, that so many of the conservative medias self proclaimed ”champions of truth” confuse perception with truth and are more concerned in how others perceive them, than they are with reporting and/or telling the truth.
While Erickson of RedState.com may very well be correct in his statement that Mother Jones is dedicated to destroying Freedom Works or any other conservative organization, Mother Jones or any other anti-conservative organization can only succeed if those in Freedom Works engage in activities which are illegal, hypocritical or contrary to its publicly stated purpose and intent. The alleged actions of Matt Kibbe President & CEO; Adam Brandon, Executive VP; Jackie Bodnar, Communications Director; are theirs and cannot be blamed on Dick Armey because Armey chose to confront them and address them. Far too many self proclaimed conservative journalist are so quick to point out the actions of individuals on the liberal left while wanting to sweep under the rug those same actions when committed by someone or some organization on the right. Sinclair News sent Mr. Erickson an email seeking comment which he acknowledged on Twitter but has failed to respond to as of the publication of this article.
Armey tells Sinclair News that Radio Host Glenn Beck should have offered a disclaimer to his listening audience by way of “now a few words from our sponsors…” when he promoted Freedom Works because the fact is Beck was paid to promote the organization. Armey says he does not believe it is the job of Freedom Works to improve on Beck’s personal wealth.
Sinclair News cannot say who is telling the truth and who is not in the conflict between Dick Armey, Matt Kibbe, Adam Brandon or Freedom Works. We can say that in trying to report the truth and all sides to the story we contacted all sides to give them the opportunity to answer questions. Mr. Armey agreed to speak with us. As of this writing neither RedState’s Erick Erickson, Freedom Works Matt Kibbe, Jackie Bodnar or Adam Brandon have responded to the questions submitted to them nor have they made any comment at all. Those questions are listed below:
Email sent to Freedom Works via Communications Director Jackie Bodnar:
Thank you for returning my call yesterday. I would like to submit the following questions to you and Mr. Kibbe with the request that you provide me with your response or comment to them. These questions are based on statements made during a telephone interview with Freedom Works former Chairman Dick Armey conducted yesterday Jan 15, 2013 and a second interview conducted this date due to poor recording quality from the initial interview.
Any comment/response to the below questions will be included in the original and unedited form in the article to be published with the entire audio interview.
Questions for Jackie Bodnar
Q: In your position as Communications Director for Freedom Works, have you ever intercepted or redirected media interview requests made for Dick Armey to Matt Kibbe?
Q: Have you at any time in performing your job duties as FW’s Communications Director informed anyone requesting an interview with Dick Armey “Mr. Armey is not available but I can get you an interview with President Matt Kibbe if you would like,” or anything similar to that?
Q: Did Dick Armey ever speak to you in person concerning your intercepting and/or redirecting media interview requests away from him to Matt Kibbe? Did you ever tell Dick Armey “I shouldn’t be fired because I was simply following orders” ?
Q: How long have you held your position as Communications Director for Freedom Works?
Q: Have you ever actively participated in any activities with FW President Matt Kibbe to keep FW’s advertising and/or sponsorship agreements secret from former FWs Chairman Dick Army?
Q: What would you like to say in response to the following statement by Dick Armey: “Since about December 2011 Matt Kibbe and staffers close to him engaged in an organized effort to keep secret his activities from me and the Board of Directors.” ?
Q: Do you have any knowledge of any Freedom Works staffer who was treated in an abusive manner by President Kibbe or anyone else on behalf of Mr. Kibbe as a result of not participating in the promotion of Matt Kibbe or his book?
Q: During your time at Freedom Works, have you ever been told by former Chairman Armey that he or anyone else believed you to be incompetent in the performance of your job duties?
Q: Is Adam Brandon an employee with Freedom Works?
Q: Does/Has Adam Brandon hold/held any position where he was responsible for the termination of any FW employees?
Questions for Matt Kibbe
Q: Has Freedom Works purchased any copies of your 2012 Book with Freedom Works funds from Amazon.com or any other retail outlet? If so when, how many and at what cost?
Q: What is the amount of money Freedom Works paid to sponsor Blog Bash at CPAC 2012 and Blog Bash at BlogCon on April 16, 2012?
Q: Has Freedom Works with your knowledge and approval funded by way of gifts, grants or sponsorships any Ali Akbar organization and/or entity other than Blog Bash at CPAC 2012 and at BlogCon?
Q: Does Freedom Works and or you personally have any financial relationships with National Bloggers Club; Ali Akbar; Erick Erickson; RedState.com; Robert Stacey McCain; Bill Murphy; Lindsey Fifield, Tabitha Hale and/or Anita MonCrief?
Q: Did you leak the internal Freedom Works documents that Mother Jones received to them or do you know who did?
Q: Are you are of any statements made by Adam Brandon to the effect that Freedom Works will get even with anyone who questions you and or your actions as President of Freedom Works?
Q: Has Freedom Works paid for the transportation/travel of Glenn Beck to any event where FW was the organizer, sponsor, promoter and where you also appeared on stage with Beck?
Q: How do you respond to the statement by Dick Armey that “beginning in late 2011 Matt Kibbe and staff engaged in a concerted plan to conduct matters in secret for the express purpose of keeping said activities from Chairman Armey and the FW Board of Directors?
Q: Is there a current ongoing inquiry into your actions at Freedom Works by the Board of trustees?
Q: Did you use any Freedom Works resources including but not limited to staff, equipment, time, money, office supplies, computers, phones in the writing of your 2012 book?
Q: Have you received a single dime in royalties from book sales resulting from the purchase of your book with Freedom Works funds through retail outlets?
Q: Have you stated that you will repay $50,000.00 to Freedom Works?
Q: What is your response to allegations you have used Freedom Works and your position as President for the express purpose of lining your own pockets?
Q: Do you now or have you in the past had any financial relationships or other favors exchanged with any journalist or blogger whether liberal, conservative or Apolitical where you have exchanged money or other favors for a particular press story or comment?
Q: Have you deliberately engaged in a campaign to defame, smear or sully Dick Armey’s reputation to protect yourself from any unethical or illegal actions?
Q: Have you or Adam Brandon or any other employee under your supervision treated any Freedom Works employee in an abusive manner for refusing to promote you or your book?
Q: What knowledge if any do you have of the termination of a female employee by Adam Brandon which was agreed upon in advance would be noted as a voluntary resignation but which Brandon went around bragging about having fired the woman?
Any other comment you wish to make will be included in its unedited form.
In our continued effort to obtain answers from all organizations which have sponsored Ali Akbar organizations and events at any time during the period which Mr. Akbar was serving a felony probation term for credit card fraud from 2008 to May 2, 2012 (which the conservative new media and power houses such as Malkin, TownHall, Hot Air, RedState, American Spectator et all have assisted in the effort to hide this information) we asked the former Freedom Works Chairman if he knew exactly how much of the organizations money or services were given in paid sponsorship of BlogBash at CPAC 2012 or at BlogCon. Armey says he has no idea and had not even heard of Akbar until we mentioned it and he read some of our reports on the subject. Asked if Freedom Works or any tax exempt organization was responsible to its contributors to be forthcoming with how and who they spent their money on Armey replies “absolutely.” Armey tells Sinclair News that last summer he was prepared to audit every contract and agreement which Freedom Works had entered into regardless of who the contracts were with. This did not sit well with Kibbe who Armey repeatedly asserts had become secretive in what he was doing at Freedom Works.
When asked about where Freedom Works received the bulk of its funding from Armey tells Sinclair News “we had been raising our funding through grassroots activits who contributed to the organization, but today the organization has moved away from its grassroots funding to wealthy donors.”
Armey describes a Freedom Works under the Kibbe/Brandon rule that in his words “would require the replacing of almost the entire staff…”in order to put Freedom Works back on its intended track. Armey says that after concluding the organization would require an almost complete staffing overhaul it simply was not something he felt was worth undergoing in order to continue his relationship with the organization. If these statements by Armey are factual and true, then the conservative media has again failed in its claimed purpose of reporting the truth and holding Freedom Works to the same standards it wishes to apply to liberal organizations such as Mother Jones; Media matters; Move-On et al.
Armey has made it clear that within Freedom Works their is a battle waging between those who have worked to make Freedom Works a grass roots policy oriented organization and the new younger social media users who believe you measure success by the number of friends you have on Face Book.
The allegations made by Armey are such that failure to adequately investigate them would not only be a failure of Freedom Works fudicary responsibility to the thousands of Americans who have contributed to the organization, it would create the “perception” that conservative media outlets and organizations are simply hypocrites themselves by trying to ignore it. The use of bloggers in messaging has proven to be an invaluable tool in politics and is certain to only increase over time, however, if you fail to hold those bloggers and the organizations which curry their favor accountable it will only serve to hurt your cause in the end. This has been demonstrated by the number of organizations who to this very day continue to ignore questions about their participation and sponsorship of organizations/events formed and hosted by Mr. Akbar over his four year probation period.
Armey describes an environment at Freedom Works under Adam Brandon where threats and retailation is the norm when anyone question the actions of Freedom Works leadership. Sinclair News has first hand experience with threats an acts of retaliation for having the nerve to question organizations and its staff like BlogBash, National Bloggers Club, Americans for Prosperity; Freedom Works; and others over their involvement with each other. Armey makes clear the conservative media has no one to attack for his defending himself but the ones who leaked the Freedom Works documents to Mother Jones and those who chose to jump on the Kibbe bandwagon before taking the time to get the facts themselves.
“I am not going to let people this kind of a stunt on me and then remain silent about…,” Armey tells Sinclair News regarding Freedom Works Communications Director Jackie Bodnar telling media producers that Armey was not available but that she could get them Matt Kibbe instead. Armey tells us that in all the leaked documents, every document leaked were documents which Matt Kibbe and those around him would have had access to. In fact some documents leaked were items that I never had access to at all. “Much of what got leaked I never would have had access to or seen,” Armey tells Sinclair News. “All the documents which were leaked were detrimental to me,” Armey states. “In the most recent leaks someone at Freedom Works is leaking on Matt Kibbe, for what reason I don’t know, but thats a dangerous business because Adam Brandon has been very clear to everybody he is going to get even with everybody and he’s done a great deal of trying to do that.”
Whether you like Dick Armey or Matt Kibbe or Freedom Works doesn’t matter, what is important is to report the facts and both sides of the controversy and let people decide who they believe is telling the truth or not. More importantly, the conservative media and the “New Conservative media” such as RedState.Com and others might want to stop publishing claims against one party while refusing to address what are clearly very serious allegations and which if proven true could be illegal acts on the part of Freedom Works, its President Matt Kibbe and others.
Contrary to the conservative media and pundits who have chosen to report the Freedom Works story as if it were a scorned lover seeking revenge, Sinclair News has decided to report the allegations and statements made by Dick Armey and we have offered Matt Kibbe, Jackie Bodnar, Adam Brandon, Erick Erickson, Glenn Beck and others the opportunity to provide their comments and responses to questions. As of the publishing of this story and interview Freedom Works, Mr. Erickson, Mr. Beck, Mr. Kibbe, Mr. Brandon and Miss Bodnar have all failed to respond to our request for comment or the questions we provided to them.
Conservative Media cannot continue to call the liberal media liars and spin doctors when they themselves engage in the same dishonest acts. For any blogger or “new media” outlet the likes of RedState.com to jump on the Kibbe/Beck bandwagon in attacking Armey for trying to keep Freedom Works from becoming a target of IRS investigations is not only wrong, it only serves to fuel the liberal arguements conservatives are only interested in those who are in a certain group. None of these outlets who engage in sponsorships of Freedom Works events or who Freedom Works underwrites events organized by a particular outlet should ever inject themselves in reporting on a story they have a vested and financial interest in, which is exactly what Erick Erickson and RedState.com did in attacking Armey.
Below are the Twitter requests made to Matt Kibbe, Jackie Bodnar and RedStates Erick Erickson including one Mr. Erickson retweeted almost immediately.
Below are the FaceBook Messages we sent requesting the interview with Dick Armey:
Below is the email from January 13, 2012 which Sinclair News sent to Dick Armeyin our efforts to secure our interview with him:
I received the FB message providing your email address. Because of reports that people may or may not have misled you I want to assure you that in proceeding I will need to know that I am speaking with the former FreedomWorks Chair Dick Armey and I will provide you verification as to who I am.
I would like to conduct the interview by phone recording it from the beginning to the end and providing you a complete unedited copy of the interview before I print anything. I will allow you the opportunity to correct anything that you may feel did not come across as you intended.
I would like to start the interview by talking about how and when FreedomWorks came to be and who were its first Chairmen. I believe it is important because I am seeing so many portray FW as only having formed in 2009 and few of them know that you, not Mr. Kibbe have been with FW from its inception.
I will ask you direct questions which you can choose to answer or if they are concerning issues you yourself have no personal knowledge of we will make that point clear. This interview will include my asking you questions about what you think an organizations responsibility is to its members and contributors when it comes to spending money.
The interview will include my asking you questions about what you think FreedomWorks has accomplished, needs to accomplish and what you think have been some of its successes and some of its failures. I would love to hear your opinion on organizations such as FW being what I believe to be “co-opted” by some in the conservative media as a means of promoting themselves above the intended goals of the organization itself.
If you are THE Dick Armey I believe I can assure you this will be one of the best interviews you will have ever given, it will be respectful and it will be completely open, honest and fair. In addition I can promise you that I will not edit your answers in anyway whatsoever and should you choose to provide additional comment on any response I will give you that opportunity to do so.
As I have stated from the FB messages, I have for the past year had some questions myself about FW because of what I saw as a marketing and promotion of the organization through and with Glenn Beck to where people were of the belief that Beck and Kibbe had somehow formed FW. In this day of Social Media it’s easy for people to not do their own homework before running with an idea.
I hope this will give you reason to agree to do the interview.Lawrence Sinclair Editor SinclairNews-LSNewsGroup 6 Spring Drive Port Orange, FL 32129 (386) 492-6634 (386) 290-5851 Cell (386) 761-3924 FAX www.SinclairNews.Net www.LSNewsGroup.com