FreedomWorks CEO says it’s ‘a real possibility’ Republican Party may split in two

By David Ferguson
Friday, October 18, 2013 13:17 EDT
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Matt Kibbe via screencap
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The CEO of the nearly bankrupt tea party PAC FreedomWorks, Matt Kibbe believes that the Republican Party is facing “a real possibility” of a schism within its ranks. According to Talking Points Memo, Kibbe made the remarks in an interview with CSPAN, in which he said that if the party loses in the 2016 elections it could well split into hostile factions, “a moderate party and a conservative party.”

“I think that’s a real possibility because you’re seeing this clash between the new generation and — to me, it’s not just the old wing of the Republican Party versus the new wing — you’re really seeing a disintermediation in politics. It’s already happened with the Democratic Party,” Kibbe said. “It’s happening with the Republican Party now. And grassroots activists have an ability to self-organize, to fund candidates they’re more interested in, going right around the Republican National Committee and senatorial committee.”

FreedomWorks and much of the far-right wing of the GOP has found itself increasingly out of step with Republican leadership, which Kibbe and his cohort believe has become too soft on Democrats and on President Barack Obama. On Thursday, Kibbe released a fundraising video for FreedomWorks that decried the decision to end the shutdown of the federal government and raise the debt ceiling.

“As you know by now,” Kibbe said in the video, “Mitch McConnell and John Boehner have partnered with Harry Reid to pass a blank check to the president on this budget fight. There is no reform of Obamacare, there’s no defunding, there’s no delays. Um…we lost.”

He went on to say that the amount of vitriol directed at Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX), Heritage Action, FreedomWorks and other agitators for further shutdowns and a debt default indicates that, in fact, the far-right is winning the fight against Obamacare and asks that donors send money to fund the insurrection against moderate Republicans.

To CSPAN, Kibbe said, “Everything’s more democratized and Republicans should come to terms with that. They still wanna control things from the top down and if they do that, there will absolutely be a split. But my prediction would be that we take over the Republican Party and they go the way of the Whigs.”

When asked by CSPAN anchor Peter Slen who Kibbe meant by “we,” he replied, “We being activists that believe in freedom.”

Kibbe himself was at the center of a dispute that roiled FreedomWorks from within last year. Former Republican congressman and FreedomWorks co-chairperson Dick Armey attempted to wrest control of the organization away from Kibbe and co-director Adam Brandon.

Armey alleged that Kibbe had misused the PAC’s funds to write a book not related to FreedomWorks and that the organization’s lavish spending — including an in-house craft beer bar, first class travel accommodations and $80,000 in Las Vegas hotel charges — and top-heavy management structure would ruin the group.

Now Armey is being paid $8 million over the course of 20 years just to stay away from the group and not discuss it with outsiders. Those funds are being personally provided by FreedomWorks’ primary donor, Chicago businessman Dick Stephenson.

FreedomWorks has had to take out a million dollar line of credit to meet its operating expenses and that so far this year, donations have slowed to a trickle.

David Ferguson
David Ferguson
David Ferguson is an editor at Raw Story. He was previously writer and radio producer in Athens, Georgia, hosting two shows for Georgia Public Broadcasting and blogging at Firedoglake.com and elsewhere. He is currently working on a book.
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