Hardball with Chris Matthews, 12/26/12, 7:00 PM ET

Dissention in the Tea Party ranks

Chris Matthews, David Corn of Mother Jones, and Salon.com’s Joan Walsh talk about the latest power grab among Tea Party Republicans at Freedomworks and the...

The story behind Dick Armey’s attempted coup at FreedomWorks

Updated
By Adam Garnett

Former House Majority Leader Dick Armey tendered his resignation as chairman of the powerhouse Tea Party group FreedomWorks almost a month ago. As it turns out, there is a much more intricate tale attached to Armey’s departure from the organization, the Washington Post revealed Wednesday.

The account tells of a coup attempt by Armey to oust the group’s president, and frequent guest on Hardball, Matt Kibbe. Acording to the newspaper’s account, Armey walked into the FreedomWorks headquarters on Capitol Hillon on Sept. 4 with his wife Susan and an armed aide and proceeded to expel Kibbe and senior Vice President Adam Brandon from the premises.

In the end, the hostile takeover attempt was thwarted by Illinois millionaire and FreedomWorks benefactor Richard J. Stephenson, who agreed to pay Armey $8 million over 20 years in exchange for Armey’s departure from the group.

David Corn of Mother Jones joined Chris Matthews on Hardball Wednesday and shed some new light on the most shocking detail  of the incident, the guy with the gun.

“What happened was, they knew it was going to be a contentious meeting, so [Armey’s] wife and his assistant said bring Beau [Singleton] along just in case the FreedomWorks guys go ballistic…He’s done private security at Freedom Works to begin with. They knew him,” said Corn.

“It wasn’t like they didn’t know who he was and, to me, the big mystery is why the Washington Post didn’t just say who this guy was. They made it sound like a guy in a hoodie was brought in off the street. This indicates how bad the blood is between the two sides,” Corn said.

Joan Walsh, Salon.com’s editor-at-large, who had a highly publicized dustup with Armey on Hardball back in 2009, did not mince words when criticizing the former House Majority Leader, calling him among other things, a “grifter.”

“I once sat here while Dick Armey told me he was glad he couldn’t be married to me,” Walsh said of their confrontation. “I think he’s a jerk. I think his wife came with him and she’s a big jerk and I say a pox on all their houses. I’m glad they’re shooting at each other and not the rest of America.”

“I just want [the Tea Party] to get out of the way of government and let government work. That’s my number one concern. Let it work.” added Matthews.

The story behind Dick Armey's attempted coup at FreedomWorks

Updated