Dick Armey resigns from tea party group

NEW YORK - OCTOBER 02: Former U.S. Representative Dick Armey speaks at 'Tea Party' a panel discussion at the 2010 New Yorker Festival at DGA Theater on October 2, 2010 in New York City. Amy Sussman/Getty Images the New Yorker

One of the most influential - but behind-the-scenes - leaders of the tea party movement has left the organization he helped to build. Former Rep. Dick Armey, R-Tex., resigned from the tea party umbrella group FreedomWorks at the end of last week. A spokesperson for FreedomWorks confirmed to CBSNews.com that the organization "accepted his letter of resignation."

Mother Jones Magazine first reported the story and obtained a copy of the letter Armey sent to Matt Kibbe, the president of FreedomWorks.

The separation appears to have been tenuous and Armey told Mother Jones that the organization was taking an "unproductive" direction.

When asked by Mother Jones if the election results played a role in Armey's dissatisfaction with the organization, Armey said, "Obviously I was not happy with the election results," adding, "We might've gotten better results if we had gone in a different direction."

His letter indicated his resignation was effective as of Nov. 30 and expects full compensation through the end of his contract, Dec. 31.

"Effective immediately I expect that FreedomWorks shall remove my name, image, and signature from all its letters, print media, postings, web sites, videos, testimonials, endorsements, fund raising materials, and social media, including but not limited to Facebook and Twitter," Armey wrote.

FreedomWorks appears to have granted his request as the organization's website no longer includes any mention of Armey.

Armey, a former House majority leader, was instrumental in the Republicans' Contract for America in the 1990s that helped the GOP gain back the majority in the House. He joined FreedomWorks in 2003 and in 2009 it became a key part in the rise of the tea party, helping to fund the movement, organize large-scale rallies and recruit conservative political candidates to defeat Republican incumbents. The organization spent more than $19 million supporting Republican candidates this past election cycle, according to the Center for Responsive Politics.

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