In the wake of Dick Armey's frosty divorce from FreedomWorks, Pareene checks in on the lucrative scams on the right and how ordinary conservatives' donations fund a feedback loop between hacks and think tanks:
As Armey admitted to Media Matters, FreedomWorks at this point essentially raises money for the sake of raising money. It exists to bilk "activists." …
[W]hat are people who donate to this grass-roots conservative organization funded mostly by a few very rich people getting for their hard-earned money? In addition to paying Dick Armey $400,000 a year for 20 years to stay away, FreedomWorks also apparently spent more than a million dollars paying Glenn Beck and Rush Limbaugh to say nice things about FreedomWorks, in order to convince listeners to send FreedomWorks money that FreedomWorks would then give to Limbaugh and Beck. It’s a pretty simple con.
The larger problem:
The problem this presents for the movement, beyond the threat of eventually bankrupting the people who give it power, is that the business of money-making, for consultants and media personalities and Herman Cains, is at this point getting in the way of the business of advancing conservative causes. The groups exert massive influence, and they only ever push the Republican Party to get more extreme. Apocalyptic hysteria is much more effective at getting people to open their wallets than reasonable commentary.