Politics

‘Who Is Dick Armey?’ attack website surfaces

A mysterious anti-Dick Armey website called “WhoisDickArmey.com” has been launched, The Daily Caller learned Friday.

“This site was put together by real Republicans in America who have known Dick Armey and FreedomWorks for a long time, and couldn’t sit on the sidelines while they tried to mislead voters in Utah,” the website says of the former Republican House Majority Leader, who is chairman of the Washington D.C.-based advocacy group FreedomWorks.

Armey, whose organization is affiliated with the tea party movement, is working to oust Republican Utah Sen. Orrin Hatch from the GOP ticket as he runs for re-election in 2012. Leaders at FreedomWorks say they plan to endorse someone they find more conservative in the U.S. Senate race there.

The Daily Caller was alerted to the existence of the website by an anonymous email with the subject, “‘You don’t know Dick (Armey).”

The attack website suggests Armey is hypocritical for targeting Hatch; it levels charges like “Dick Armey Isn’t a Real Conservative on Immigration” and “Dick Armey Isn’t a Real Conservative on Lobbying Ethics.”

Evelyn Call, a spokeswoman for Hatch’s campaign, told TheDC they aren’t behind the website and don’t know who is.

“No one from our staff has anything to do with it,” she said.

But a recent Washington Post article reported that the Hatch campaign is prepared to call out national conservative organizations that are opposing his re-election.

“Hatch’s campaign says it is prepared to make the 2012 race about not just Hatch, but about [Club for Growth president Chris] Chocola and former House Majority Leader Dick Armey, who now heads the tea party group Freedomworks … The Hatch people believe both men have vulnerabilities in their records that can be exploited,” the story noted.

Those behind the “WhoisDickArmey.com” website make it clear that they are targeting Armey because of his group’s opposition to Hatch.

“Dick Armey and FreedomWorks want to ‘retire’ Orrin Hatch and replace him in the U.S. Senate with Rep. Jason Chaffetz, a relatively untested and much younger Republican who has served in the House of Representatives for less than three years,” the website states. “When did anyone appoint Armey the Senate’s kingmaker?”

No one has stepped up yet to challenge Hatch in the primary, though Chaffetz has signaled he’s likely to get in the race.

An anonymous party registered the Internet domain WhoIsDickArmey.com through Domains By Proxy, Inc., a service that permits registrants to hide their identities.

Reached for comment, Brendan Steinhauser, a FreedomWorks organizer, said: “This election is about Orrin Hatch and his big government record. Nothing else.”

Another FreedomWorks staffer has his own theory about who is behind the website.

“Although Hatch’s campaign denies involvement, I find that highly unlikely,” said Michael Duncan, a FreedomWorks spokesman, in an email. “The site makes all the same arguments about seniority, electability, etc. that Hatch’s campaign made when our Retire Hatch announcement came out.”