Former House Majority Leader Dick Armey (R-Texas) is resigning from DLA Piper law firm amid a wave of negative attention his grassroots organization, Freedom Works, has drawn for helping to organize protesters at health care town hall meetings with members of Congress.
In an interview with POLITCO Armey said that he was concerned about the media scrutiny the health care protests were drawing to the firm he has been associated with since retiring from Congress.
“The firm is busy with its business, and shouldn’t be asked to take time out from their work, to defend themselves of spurious allegations,” Armey said. “No client of this firm is going to be free to mind its own business without harassment as long as I’m associated with it.”
In a statement, DLA Piper Chairman Frank Burch said the parting was mutual.
“We understand and respect” Armey’s decision, Burch said.
In a statement Armey said, “It is painful and frustrating to see a good, decent, able and effective partnership of honorable men and women and their clients attacked for things in which they are not involved simply because of their association with me. One would expect a higher degree of competence and professionalism from members of the media than spurious attacks on innocent bystanders.”
“Let me be perfectly clear about DLA Piper. It is a fine firm with good, competent people. It has been my privilege to be associated with them and I will miss them. I am leaving the firm with regret but also with anticipation of being more fully engaged in the nation's struggle and without having attacks on me being directed at others.”
To that end, Armey, who had been with the law firm for six years, said that he intends to devote his full attention to FreedomWorks.
“It is imperative for me, within the context of my life’s work in the defense of personal liberty against the encroachments of big government, to give my undivided attention to the work we do at FreedomWorks. In short, the threat to personal liberty in America is so serious and imminent at this time that it requires the full commitment of my efforts. While I consider it a personal sacrifice to leave DLA Piper, it is a sacrifice I must make in light of the important work I am committed to at FreedomWorks.”
Armey, who became majority leader after Republicans won control of Congress in 1994, has become a poster boy of sorts for critics of the congressional town halls, where Democratic members of Congress have often been drowned out by chorus of boos and jeers.