The NRA suspended its top lobbyist, Chris Cox, and one of his deputy chief of staff, Scott Christman, adding further turmoil to the gun-rights group’s leadership ranks as it wages legal battles on multiple fronts and prepares for a bruising 2020 election cycle.
The moves came after Oliver North, the former NRA board president, was ousted from the organization in April after it accused him of leading an attempted coup against Wayne LaPierre, the executive vice president of the NRA who has long served as the organization’s leader. North alleged that LaPierre used the group to enrich himself. As part of the infighting, the NRA sued Ackerman McQueen Inc., its longtime advertising firm, and in turn Ackerman cut ties with the group.
On Wednesday night, the NRA filed a lawsuit against North arguing that he didn’t have the right to legal fees from the NRA. The lawsuit says that Cox, described as a “likely successor” to lead the organization, participated in the failed bid to oust LaPierre.
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The leadership struggle came to a head on April 24, according to the lawsuit. That’s when North talked to a LaPierre aide by phone and threatened to reveal unflattering details about LaPierre’s travel and clothing expenses unless he resigned and supported “North’s continued tenure as president,” according to the complaint, which calls the exchange an extortion.
North also promised to arrange an “excellent retirement” for LaPierre through Ackerman McQueen if he resigned, the NRA claims.
The NRA filed its suit against Ackerman McQueen in mid-April, claiming it refused to turn over details about North’s contract with the advertising firm. Last month, the NRA sued again, claiming Ackerman McQueen engineered the failed coup attempt by leaking damaging information to undermine NRA leaders.
The firm fired back with a breach-of-contract countersuit, claiming that the NRA was just trying to get out of its service agreement with the firm and that it had provided all the information sought by the gun group.
North was aided in his efforts against LaPierre by NRA board member Dan Boren, a former congressman who’s now a top executive for Chickasaw Nation, a major Ackerman McQueen client, according to the NRA complaint filed on Wednesday. Boren “helped to choreograph the ultimatum they presented to Mr. LaPierre,” it said.
In emails obtained by the NRA, Boren “admitted his knowledge that Ackerman may have been invoicing the NRA for full salaries of employees who were actually working on the Chickasaw Nation account.” Those emails also show that Cox was an “errant fiduciary” who “participated in the Ackerman/North/Boren conspiracy,” the NRA claims.
The complaint asks a judge to declare that the NRA shouldn’t be required to cover North’s legal fees for subpoenas arising from its litigation with Ackerman McQueen and from a Senate Finance Committee request for information. North’s attorney had demanded that the NRA cover his legal fees for the congressional probe and for “any other inquiries” that he “may receive” in the future, it said.
Cox’s suspension was reported earlier by the New York Times. Cox’s spokeswoman told the Times that he played no role in the coup attempt.
The suspensions throw the group’s political operation into turmoil just days after President Donald Trump announced his re-election bid. The NRA spent heavily to support Trump during the 2016 race, and Cox has met with the president multiple times during his tenure. Speaking at the NRA’s annual meeting this year, Trump was introduced by Cox rather than LaPierre.
A lawyer for North, Brendan Sullivan, declined to comment and said he would respond in a court filing.
As the group’s chief lobbyist, Cox oversaw nine different divisions, including federal, state, and local government affairs. “Cox develops and executes independent political campaigns and legislative initiatives. He also serves as the Association’s principal contact with the United States Senate and House of Representatives, the White House and federal agencies,” the NRA Foundation wrote on its website in a profile of Cox.
Full, original story: www.bloomberg.com
Cox as head of legislative affairs, and such, failed to respond to or aid in a very nasty case in North Carolina, that impacted the rights of all gun owners. The N.C.G.S. 50-b law is a very dangerous ex-parte law, and not only did Cox and his group fail to respond to requests for help, it hurt the interests of all gun owners. Cox needs to go. North, has a very checkered past as well. I don't think he is appropriate for a leadership post. In the background as a mover and shaker, maybe. But not a prominent post.
Sad to have this infighting, but I've always felt LaPierre & crew liked their perks had a vested interest in prolonging the tension. Under Reagan, for example, we had a real chance to put this statist assault on the Second down for good, but the establishment would not go for the throat, but rather chose to be rhetorical milquetoast compromisers. We NEED Cinncinati the SECOND !!!!
And as another noted - *ANYTHING* tainted by SHORTY BOMBASTIC (bloomberg) must be considered fresh raw bovine fertilzer until the accuracy is confirmed by a reliable source.
Very suspicious of any news about the NRA from BLOOMBERG, as the man HATES the NRA, as well as all gun owners, except of course, his body guards.
Comment by:Dwayne Oxford
I went to GOA MANY years ago when NRA decreed that us peons could/would NEVER ever need armor piercing ammo. They're lucifer's agents of compromise.
I don't understand the use of the word "coup" in this article. Wayne LaPierre is not a dictator. He serves at the discretion of the Board of Directors. They can terminate him at any time (subject to whatever contract he has). How is it a coup when others want to inject new blood into top leadership? LaPierre doesn't have a birthright to be CEO. I would also add that the NRA is a nonprofit corp. It exists to serve a public purpose. Not to serve any one individual. IMO, it is past time for LaPierre to let someone else lead the organization.
Comment by:SheepDog 2
This is not good for any member of the NRA or for the organization's image. The powers to be definitely need to take care of their business and clean this mess up immediately. They and we will have enough to battle in 2020 without having to fight among the ranks and in the courts.
We are beset on all sides by people who are truly evil agents of "Progressive Liberal Socialism. People who would joyfully strip Americans of everything that made the country great and turn us into a nation of sheep who are slaves to the government dole just like Europeans. The original Americans fled Europe to escape exactly what these people want to inflict on us and the NRA chooses this moment to fall to pieces. Get it together people! I will always maintain my NRA membership, but I would like to know that the organization I am supporting with my hard earned money has their act together and can actually function in the role we need them to.
GEEEEZZZ...Really..Best the NRA start cleaning up their dirty laundry ..
By the way, ,LTC Col. (Ret) Oliver was the top[ vote getter at the recent NRA elections
Is King Wayne going to let him take a seat again?
I know Chris Cox ( NRA Training Counselor Training session and LTC Oliver North-USMC (RET.) as well. They both are stellar Gentlemen I am a Patron Member, and have been a proud member of the NRA since 1964, and membership at every level since the beginning of my first Annual membership in 1964 at Fort Huachuca AZ. I have only been fortunate to attend one National meeting, but God willing I will be at the next one.
There is something rotten and stinking going on at the executive level of National Rifle Association. It is really getting to look like we need to have a Cincinnati reform to clean out this vile mess going on.
His Excellence King Wayne needs to go into the green pasture for his underhanded handling of Col North and Mr. Cox-Esq. And sent off with a big retirement package? I totally disagree, he should be escorted out of Fairfax VA NRA Headquarters and handed his personal things and told to never return. Let him keep all the items I understand he has pilfered from NRA as his retirement package, and good riddance.