Lobbyist Tea Party

April 16, 2009 3:22 pm ET

On April 16th, 2009, FreedomWorks announced it would host a "March on Washington" Tea Party in September of 2009.    Rather than relying on a passionate citizenry to organize the protest, the September Tea Party is organized and funded by large corporations opposed to President Obama's brand of change.    FreedomWorks Chairman Dick Armey's lobbying firm, DLA Piper, represents a host of clients intent on maintaining the Bush-era status quo.

Freedom Works: The AstroTurf Master

FreedomWorks Designed Amateur-Looking Website Attempting To Appear As A Grassroots Movement.  As reported by the Wall Street Journal, "AngryRenter.com looks a bit like a digital ransom note, with irregular fonts, exclamation points and big red arrows, all emphasizing prudent renters' outrage over a proposed government bailout for irresponsible homeowners. 'It seems like America's renters may NEVER be able to afford a home,' AngryRenter.com laments. The Web site urges like-minded tenants to let Congress feel their fury by signing an online petition. 'We are millions of renters standing up for our rights!' Angry they may be, but the people behind AngryRenter.com are not renters. Though it purports to be a spontaneous uprising, AngryRenter.com is a product of an inside-the-Beltway conservative-advocacy organization led by Dick Armey, the former House majority leader, and publishing magnate Steve Forbes, a fellow Republican. It's a fake grass-roots effort - what politicos call an AstroTurf campaign - that provides a window into the ways of Washington." [Wall Street Journal, 5/17/08]

They're At It Again.  The folks at ThinkProgress pointed out:

FreedomWorks staffers coordinate conference calls among protesters, contacting conservative activists to give them "sign ideas, sample press releases, and a map of events around the country."

FreedomWorks staffers apparently moved to "take over" the planning of local events in Florida.

FreedomWorks provides how-to guides for delivering a "clear message" to the public and media.

FreedomWorks has several domain addresses - some of them made to look like they were set up by amateurs - to promote the protests. 

 [ThinkProgress, 4/9/09]

Dick Armey: The FreedomWorks Lobbyist

FreedomWorks Chairman Dick Armey Serves As A Lobbyist With DLA Piper.  Former Congressman Dick Armey is currently employed by DLA Piper, a Washington lobbying firm.  [DLA Piper, accessed 4/16/09]

DLA Piper Clients Include Corporations Opposed To President Obama's Reforms.  According to the federal lobbying disclosure database, past and current DLA Piper clients include:

  • Alliant Energy Corporation
  • American Council of Life Insurers
  • American Financial Group
  • American Insurance Association
  • AIG
  • BP America
  • Bristol-Myers Squibb
  • China Chamber of Commerce
  • Clarendon Insurance Group
  • Constellation Energy Group
  • Dubai Group
  • DuPont Corporation
  • Edison Electric
  • Emirates Investment and Development
  • First Kuwaiti General Trading & Contracting Company
  • General Motors
  • Goldman Sachs & Co.
  • Irving Oil
  • Lehman Bros. Inc.
  • Merrill Lynch
  • Residential Loan Centers of America
  • TransGas Energy
  • Vitas Healthcare Corporation
  • Washington Group International
  • World Fuel Services Corporation

[Senate Lobbying Disclosure Act Database, accessed 4/16/09]