If you're a fan of awkward interviews, do two things. First, subscribe to my weekly podcast. Second, watch the Daily Caller's Jamie Weinstein grapple with calm and laconic FreedomWorks President Matt Kibbe. The interview started with a discussion of Kibbe's book, Don't Hurt People and Don't Take Their Stuff, his third libertarian manifesto in four years. It continued as Weinstein pressed Kibbe on some movement gripes about FreedomWorks, which he took over fully after an acrimonious 2012 split with Dick Armey.
Kibbe's response: a series of stone-faced denials. He expresses surprise that his latest book completely disappeared from the New York Times bestseller list after debuting at No. 2, and denies that any donors mass-purchased copies. He explains that FreedomWorks switched its endorsement in Nebraska's Senate race because over time Ben Sasse appeared more anti-establishment than they thought he was.* And Kibbe flat-out denies a 2013 BuzzFeed scoop about FreedomWorks' struggling fundraising campaigns.
"That story wasn't true," Kibbe says. "It was completely contrived."
"Freedomworks never had a $1 million bridge loan?" asks Weinstein.
That's more than the organization said six months ago; when BuzzFeed had reached out for comment, FreedomWorks dismissed the "baseless attacks from salty former employees" without specifically rebutting anything. And since that story ran, Ken Vogel's reporting revealed that the money paid by FreedomWorks to Glenn Beck was six times greater than the "$1 million" suggested by BuzzFeed. FreedomWorks has been insisting that any reports of money problems fail to account for its two-year, election-cycle fundraising strategy. They've got most of a year to prove that right, and to issue more denials.
*Coincidentally, Sasse has steadily risen from single digits to a tie for first place, a process that started before the switch.