WASHINGTON — A split is opening up between two forces that helped to launch the Tea Party in 2009. FreedomWorks, a free market/limited government advocacy group, released a statement Thursday criticizing the move by billionaire industrialists Charles and David Koch to sue for majority control of the libertarian Cato Institute.

“As representatives of FreedomWorks, a grassroots organization that fights for constitutionally-limited government and individual freedom, we have grave concerns regarding the potential damage to the cause of liberty that will result from the dispute that has erupted between the Board of Directors of the Cato Institute and various parties at Koch Industries,” says the statement from FreedomWorks’ top three officials — Chairman Dick Armey, the former congressman from Texas; Co-Chairman C. Boyden Gray and President Matt Kibbe.

FreedomWorks worked hand-in-glove with the Koch brothers-funded group Americans for Prosperity to help rally the Tea Party movement in 2009. The two groups teamed up to sponsor the Tea Party Tax Day Protest that followed a televised rant against government support for homeowners facing foreclosure by CNBC’s Rick Santelli.

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