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Dick Armey: Please, Koch, keep distancing yourself from me

Last night, Missy Cohlmia of Koch Companies sent out this statement to multiple reporters:

Because you have covered tea parties in the past and we imagine you will cover tomorrow’s Tax Day Tea Party in DC, we want to reiterate some important facts.
Koch companies value free speech and believe it is good to have more Americans engaged in key policy issues. That said, Koch companies, the Koch foundations, Charles Koch and David Koch have no ties to and have never given money to FreedomWorks.
In addition, no funding has been provided by Koch companies, the Koch foundations, Charles Koch or David Koch specifically to support the tea parties.

It was a strange thing to find in the inbox for several reasons, one of them being that the Koch oil fortune has, indeed, funded some of the work of the tea party movement. Americans for Prosperity, to name one, has received millions of dollars, and that money has funded Patients United and Hot Air Tours against climate change legislation.

I spoke to Dick Armey of FreedomWorks before he took the stage at Thursday's Tea Party Express rally in downtown Washington, and he was happy that Koch was officially distancing itself from his group -- which it has never funded.

"I'm glad to have that confusion cleared up," said Armey. "Too many people have suffered under the false impression that we're funded by the Kochs. The fact of the matter is, there is a substantial difference in who we are and what we do."

Politico's Ken Vogel followed up, asking Armey what Koch might be thinking with such a blanket -- and hard-to-defend -- criticism of tea parties.

"I don't know," said Armey, speculating that the company might be worried about tea partiers going after friendly incumbents in Congress. "I have never understood them."

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By David Weigel  |  April 15, 2010; 2:00 PM ET
Categories:  Tea Party  | Tags: Americans for Prosperity, Charles Koch, Climate change, David Koch, Dick Armey, FreedomWorks, Tea Party protests 2009, United States  
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