It’s been a year since turmoil inside tea party-affiliated FreedomWorks led to the departure of former House Majority Leader Dick Armey as chairman.
But despite the rocky year, employees who still work for the group threw a party at a Washington-area bar on Wednesday to celebrate the anniversary of the internal split, according to an invitation obtained by The Daily Caller.
“You’re invited to help celebrate a very special anniversary,” the invitation sent to FreedomWorks employees said about the Sept. 4 party at Galaxy Hut. Recipients were instructed to not to transfer the invitation to others.
It was on Sept. 4 last year when Armey, who was chairman, staged an unsuccessful overthrow of the organization’s day-to-day leadership. Losing that battle, it ultimately led to his own resignation.
FreedomWorks President Matt Kibbe and Adam Brandon were temporarily put on administrative leave as the organization’s board of trustees looked into the conflicts inside the organization. But Kibbe and Brandon were later re-instated at FreedomWorks and Armey accepted a $8 million consulting contract in return for leaving the organization after the election.
Officials at FreedomWorks did not return emails seeking comment. Armey didn’t immediately return a phone call Friday afternoon.
The invitation — and email chain among invitees — made light of several inside jokes about the internal split.
It included an image of a panda, a recurring joke inside the organization. The panda joke garnered bad press last year after Mother Jones, a liberal publication, reported that FreedomWorks staffers filmed a video which included a scene of a female intern wearing a panda suit and performing oral sex on what appeared to be Hillary Clinton.
In a group email about the party last Friday, Brandon, now the FreedomWorks executive vice president, wrote, “Can we invite Bo to provide security?”
“Bo” appears to be in reference to Armey’s security guard, who escorted Brandon and Kibbe from the organization’s building last year.
The split occurred last year after Armey complained about Kibbe’s leadership of the organization. He suggested Kibbe was more interested in furthering his own profile than the group’s. Kibbe, for example, went on a book tour ahead of the election. Kibbe, in an interview with TheDC, countered then that his book was “incredibly valuable to FreedomWorks to promoting our agenda, to raising money.”
A number of longtime staffers — including Brendan Steinhauser and Max Pappas — also left FreedomWorks around the time of the group’s inner turmoil.