As ThinkProgress has been documenting, the anti-Obama “tea parties” going on today are not the “grassroots” effort that organizers claim, but are actually the work of corporate lobbyists, aided and abetted by Fox News. Lee Fang pointed out that one of those lobbyists — former Majority Leader and current FreedomWorks chairman Dick Armey (R-TX) — is one of DC’s top “hired guns,” and FreedomWorks is one of those orchestrating the “grassroots” tea party movement.
With the tea parties, FreedomWorks is organizing protests against “a federal government run amok with economic bailouts.” However, Armey’s lobbying firm represented three of the financial behemoths that brought the economy to its knees, necessitating such a widespread government response in the first place. In just the last year, Armey’s firm, DLA Piper, has represented:
The reasons for the lobbying listed on these institutions’ disclosure forms range from “Congressional hearings on financial services crisis” and tax issues to simply “policies affecting securities firms.” DLA Piper also represented TARP recipient Discover Financial Services.
Let’s look at these institutions for a moment. AIG attached a hedge fund to its insurance company, and wound up with $40 billion in credit default swaps that it couldn’t honor. It then paid out $165 million in bonuses, after being kept alive with $170 billion in taxpayer money.
Merrill Lynch incurred catastrophic losses on subprime mortgages, and was rescued by Bank of America, which needed an infusion of taxpayer money upon realizing the extent of Merrill’s losses. Merrill also paid out $3.6 million in bonuses right before merging with BofA. Lehman, meanwhile, went bankrupt after mucking about in subprime mortgages, sending a shock through the financial system, and ensuring that the government would not allow another big investment bank to fail.
These are the kinds of characters that Armey’s firm represents, and its a safe bet that DLA Piper wasn’t enlisted to push for tougher regulations or more stringent capital requirements. And now Armey is helping to orchestrate “protests” against the very actions taken to bring the economy back from the brink to which these financial institutions helped push it.