From POLITICO (August 7, 2009):
Former House Majority Leader Dick Armey (R-Texas) is resigning from DLA Piper law firm amid a wave of negative attention his grassroots organization, Freedom Works, has drawn for helping to organize protesters at health care town hall meetings with members of Congress.
In an interview with POLITICO Armey said that he was concerned about the media scrutiny the health care protests were drawing to the firm he has been associated with since retiring from Congress.
“The firm is busy with its business, and shouldn’t be asked to take time out from their work, to defend themselves of spurious allegations,” Armey said. “No client of this firm is going to be free to mind its own business without harassment as long as I’m associated with it.”
In a statement Armey said, “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.”
[…] Armey, who had been with the law firm for six years, said that he intends to devote his full attention to FreedomWorks.
Armey, who became majority leader after Republicans won control of Congress in 1994, has become a poster boy of sorts for critics of the congressional town halls, where Democratic members of Congress have often been drowned out by chorus of boos and jeers.
On Aug. 7 MSNBC host Rachel Maddow raised questions about a potential role for the law firm — and its clients — in the protests.
“The fact that Dick Armey and FreedomWorks are standing alongside regular Joes like Rick Scott to lead the charge against health care reform could be just a coincidence. Or it could be a stark reminder of who we’re dealing with here. Who is actively organizing the campaign against health care reform? Scaring real Americans with increasingly paranoid and kooky lies about health care and then providing a script for how to express that fear.”
Both Armey and Maddow are scheduled to appear on NBC’s “Meet the Press” this Sunday.
Armey told POLITICO he intends to counter misinformation about FreedomWorks’ role in the health care protests and said there have been no disruptions of any town hall meetings where his group has helped organize participants.
“That’s simply not true. We have always emphasized making a civil presentation. There’s been nobody at a town hall meeting who has been bused in, at least not by FreedomWorks.”
Rather, he said, opposition over the prospect of government-run health care is organic.