On the same day that the National Rifle Association announced that they were halting production for their 24-hour live streaming platform, NRATV, their top lobbyist, Chris Cox resigned.
On Wednesday, the NRA severed ties with its advertising partner, Ackerman McQueen, and ended programming for the online streaming service. The two have worked together for 38 years, as the ad agency oversaw NRATV’s production and worked to shape the NRA’s public image. It has been a rocky few months for the relationship between the gun rights advocacy group and the agency.
The conflict also brought about the resignation of the NRA’s Chief Lobbyist Chris Cox, as confirmed to TIME by NRA spokesman Andrew Arulanandam. Cox has worked with the NRA since 1995 and served as chief lobbyist and principal political strategist for its lobbying arm since 2002. He was suspended for his involvement in a power struggle against CEO and Executive Vice President, Wayne LaPierre, in June before resigning today.
The downfall of both the online streaming service and top lobbyist are connected in a web of lawsuits and threats that has recently surrounded the group.
In April, the NRA filed suit against the ad agency, saying that the NRA felt Ackerman McQueen might be “overcharging for certain items” and invoicing salaries for time spent consulting other companies, the Wall Street Journal reported.
After the lawsuit was filed, former group President Oliver North told LaPierre of a letter that Ackerman McQueen was planning on sending to the NRA board, according to The Hill. It detailed a “devastating account” of the NRA’s financial status, sexual harassment allegations levied against a staff member and extravagant expenses. LaPierre informed NRA’s board that North tried to blackmail him into resigning, threatening the release of Ackerman McQueens’ information, according to the Wall Street Journal.
North stepped down as President in April and information about the NRA’s finances was leaked earlier this month.
In June, the NRA filed a lawsuit against North. It accused him of his alleged involvement in the attempt to oust LaPierre through extortion. Cox, thought by many to be the next in line to take LaPierre’s place, was also implicated in the new set of lawsuit allegations.
Ackerman McQueen has counter-sued the NRA for $50 million saying that it did, in fact, provide enough financial information to the NRA, and that the NRA’s claims are damaging to their reputation.
NRATV, launched in 2016, has been known to promote a hard-line, right-wing agenda. In a message on the NRA website homepage, LaPierre called the move away from the ad agency and NRATV an attempt to create a “significant change in our communications strategy.”
LaPierre’s message said “many members expressed concern about the messaging on NRATV becoming too far removed from our core mission: defending the Second Amendment.”
While on-air personalities like Dana Loesch and Grant Stinchfield will no longer host live shows, LaPierre explained in the statement that they will continue to show “new and archived videos” on their other media platforms.
Ackerman McQueen released a statement to TIME today calling the NRA’s actions an attempt to “smear” their company with “false allegations to excuse their non-payment.” They feel that “it is time to move on to a new chapter without the chaos that has enveloped the NRA.”
When asked for comment, NRA directed TIME to LaPierre’s message on its homepage.
Full, original story: time.com
Unfortunately La Pierre needs to get fitted with a new retirement suit. NRA has been claiming that it's donations and fund raising are not quite meeting the annual requirements. Like most businesses the first thing to review and audit would be 'is there a spending problem or a revenue problem?' I'd say, based on the expense accounts and salaries, there's a spending problem in a top heavy organization. Concur with Col K.
I really liked reading all the comments that basically kissed and or sucked off Wayne LaPierre as the greatest think the NRA has ever had. WAKE UP PEOPLE! Wayne LaPierre IS the problem and he's the one that need to give a PUBLIC apology to the entire NRA membership and also to Lt. Col North.
As a NRA Endowment Life member, I will NOT give one more cent to the NRA UNTIL LaPierre steps down!
AGREED, Jeffreyclay, "The Swamp" it is. Do we know how many senators, gov's and state reps are being paid and how much they are being paid to lobby and vote for nra?
The Dem. swampers want more taxpayer money for bigger gov't. So people can jet back and forth across the country once a week (Pelosi) on the taxpayer dime. I had suspicions years ago that LaPierre might be falling into this lifestyle. He does not stay at Motel 6 or Budget Inn when he travels and dresses REAL pretty on members (taxpayers) dime.
I've been an annual member since 1977 and a Life Member with Patron upgrade since 1997. I've known of LaPierre's work with a local State Delegate (Vic Thomas) whom I voted for and shared the same respect for Wayne. It saddens me to see the change of the NRA over the years into the money grubbing machine it has now become. The reports of extravagant spending, closets full of $2000 suits and LaPeirre's annual compensation draw strong parallels to "The Swamp" we have in Washington today. LaReirre needs to go and an aggressive pruning needs to be done through out the NRA to bring it back to it's core purpose and mission.
chris cox needed to go a LONG time ago. I recall, when I was a life member of the now defunct, "hunting branch" of nra, Free Hunters, cox wrote a piece in the Free Hunters magazine stating that the Second Amendment was partially about hunting. I responded to that ridiculous piece on the Free Hunters forums, and I was attacked and dismissed by darren lasorte. THAT jerk needs to go too, if the idiot is even still around.
I`m an nra Life-Endowment member and used to be a very staunch nra supporter. Especially when nra sent out the infamous "jack-booted" thugs letter. Sadly, today, nra supports soft gun control, and nra needs to understand, my Second Amendment rights are NOT theirs to negotiate away. While I`ll always presumably be an nra member, these days, I FAR prefer Gun Owners of America. GOA, I don`t believe, will EVER support gun control, and they understand that "Shall not be infringed", means EXACTLY that. If nra wants to regain any relevance at all, they need to get back to that tough approach, and stand up unyieldingly for our rights.
Comment by:Colonel K
For many decades the senior professional staff of the NRA have absolutely ruled the organization. The Board of Directors and President are little more than figureheads with very little real power. I suspect there will be fireworks at the next national convention, hopefully enough to inspire a second "Cincinnati Revolt". We really need to change our bylaws so we can streamline the board and enhance their power (without ceding to them money and perks). Men like Wayne LaPierre are supposed to work or us, not profit by us. Sadly, years ago the organization turned into a money collecting machine that is focused on unending fighting rather than victory. The constant drumbeat of fear of being only one election away from losing our gun rights is strong medicine, but it is being proselytized by charlatans mostly interested in lining their pockets and retirement accounts. It has become a racket. North and Cox are gone; that's two down and one to go. Yes, I mean LaPierre.
I’m sure Wayne is a super guy but what none of these children understand is they are charged with a bigger mission that transcends their collective egos. What all of this tells me is that the power struggles at the top has greater meaning to these people thannthe ensuing chaos, which puts the NRA one step closer to irrelevance, which is exactly what the anti-gun community has been pushing for. Congratulations, you morons. If only there was a way to fire every member of the executive board and the board of directors today and start over. I can only dream.
Comment by:Jim Day
I have been a Life Member since 1970 and am now a Patron Member. I hold the highest membership in my State Rifle Association and Local Arms Collector's Association. I have served as a Director in my State Association and promoted Firearms Safety along with the our right to keep and bear arms in many venues. I have known Wayne for many years and have always considered him to be an effective Leader for the NRA. It saddens me to hear the derogatory remarks of fellow members and encourage all to allow the NRA Directors to resolve this most disturbing conflict.