NRA Suspends Second-in-Command, Implicating Him in Coup Attempt

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There’s a lot going on right now within NRA. Rumors are rampant! This article has the a good collection of facts. READ MORE

Chris Cox
Chris Cox

SOURCE: NYTimes.com, by Danny Hakim

The palace intrigue at the National Rifle Association deepened last Thursday as the gun group suspended its second-in-command and top lobbyist, accusing him of complicity in the recent failed coup against its chief executive, Wayne LaPierre.

The accusation came in a lawsuit filed Wednesday night in New York State Supreme Court against Oliver North, the N.R.A.’s former president, who led the attempt to oust Mr. LaPierre shortly before the group’s annual convention in April. The complaint provides new details about the effort against Mr. LaPierre, but it is the involvement of the organization’s No. 2 official, Christopher W. Cox, that will reverberate.

In the suit, the N.R.A. said that text messages and emails demonstrated that “another errant N.R.A. fiduciary, Chris Cox — once thought by some to be a likely successor for Mr. LaPierre — participated” in what was described as a conspiracy.

The court filing includes text exchanges in which Mr. Cox and a board member appear to be discussing an effort to oust Mr. LaPierre, though the full context is unclear. The N.R.A. is conducting an internal review of the matter, and a spokesman, Andrew Arulanandam, said on Thursday that both Mr. Cox and a top aide, Scott Christman, had been placed on administrative leave.

Mr. Cox, in a statement, said: “The allegations against me are offensive and patently false. For over 24 years I have been a loyal and effective leader in this organization. My efforts have always been focused on serving the members of the National Rifle Association, and I will continue to focus all of my energy on carrying out our core mission of defending the Second Amendment.”

The suit — the latest in a series of legal actions stemming from the gun group’s internal turmoil — is likely to send new shock waves through the N.R.A. While Mr. North served as president for just one year, Mr. Cox has worked for the N.R.A. since 1995 and led its lobbying arm since 2002. He has been a leading presence at the organization’s gatherings, reliably serving up red meat for the N.R.A.’s base.

Among other things, he has been a fervent defender of the AR-15, the semiautomatic rifle used in many mass shootings, telling attendees at the group’s convention last year that “we have an AR culture that’s on display all over the exhibit halls this weekend.”

Together, Mr. Cox, 49, and Mr. LaPierre, 69, have been the public faces of the N.R.A., the twin architects of its strategy. But they have had an uneasy relationship, and their staffs are somewhat siloed from each other. Mr. Cox runs the N.R.A.’s lobbying arm, the Institute for Legislative Action, which has a separate media relations team from the N.R.A.’s, and his choice of consultants has also sometimes diverged from Mr. LaPierre’s.

As Mr. North’s coup attempt played out at the convention this spring, some people inside the N.R.A. said Mr. Cox largely kept quiet and appeared to be hedging his bets.

Jennifer Baker, a spokeswoman for the N.R.A.’s lobbying arm, said Mr. Cox and Mr. LaPierre had “worked closely together for a quarter of a century, and any notion that Chris participated in a coup is absurd. Chris Cox is known as a calming force who always acts in the best interests of our members by effectively defending the Second Amendment, so it’s not surprising that board members would reach out to him for advice during tumultuous times.”

But Carolyn D. Meadows, who succeeded Mr. North as N.R.A. president, said in a statement: “I fully support the actions undertaken today. The N.R.A. is moving forward on all fronts, especially with regard to serving our members and focusing on the crucial upcoming elections.”

The genesis of the dispute between the N.R.A. and Mr. North is a related legal battle between the N.R.A. and its most prominent contractor, the Oklahoma-based advertising firm Ackerman McQueen, which employed Mr. North. The N.R.A. has sued Ackerman, claiming it withheld documents and records from the gun group, and some officials have suggested the company may also have been overbilling. Ackerman, which has said it did nothing improper, filed a countersuit claiming that it was smeared by the N.R.A.

In yet another lawsuit, the N.R.A. has accused Ackerman of breaching confidentiality clauses in its contract and smearing Mr. LaPierre.

The new lawsuit seeks to block Mr. North’s attempt to have the N.R.A. pay his legal fees, which he has sought as he fields requests to cooperate with other litigation as well as a Senate inquiry.

“The N.R.A. believes that Col. North seeks payments from the Association to which he is not entitled,” the N.R.A.’s outside counsel, William A. Brewer III, said in a statement. (Mr. North is a retired Marine lieutenant colonel who first came to prominence during the Iran-Contra hearings.) “The N.R.A. alleges that Col. North breached his fiduciary obligations — in a coordinated attack against the N.R.A. and Wayne LaPierre that involved others motivated by their own economic self-interest,” Mr. Brewer added.

In addition to implicating Mr. Cox, the new lawsuit claims that another N.R.A. board member, the former Oklahoma congressman Dan Boren, participated in the effort to oust Mr. LaPierre, and it presents a piece of evidence intended to shed light on the overbilling question.

Mr. Boren is close to Ackerman and works for another Ackerman client, the Oklahoma-based Chickasaw Nation. In an exhibit filed in the latest complaint, Mr. Boren expressed concern to a Chickasaw official that Ackerman was billing the N.R.A. for “full salary to these employees that may have been working on our accounts,” adding, “I bet Ackerman is in trouble on this one.”

Another key issue in the N.R.A.’s battle with Ackerman is the role of Mr. North, who was employed by Ackerman while serving as the N.R.A.’s president; the N.R.A. has claimed that the arrangement was improper and that Ackerman wouldn’t show the N.R.A. a copy of Mr. North’s contract for months. Mr. North has said Mr. LaPierre helped negotiate the contract.

Mr. North is said to have sparked the coup by delivering a threatening message to a key aide to Mr. LaPierre shortly before the N.R.A. convention in April, warning that damaging revelations about the N.R.A.’s spending on Mr. LaPierre’s clothing and travel would be released if he did not step aside. He also said Mr. LaPierre would be well rewarded financially if he stepped down. Mr. LaPierre refused to step aside, and the embarrassing material was indeed released, though it is not clear by whom.

The latest suit calls this “a conspiracy by North to extort the N.R.A.”

Any move against Mr. Cox could lead to further litigation. He is one of three senior executives who are contractually entitled to receive their base pay for one to four years if they are dismissed without cause, or in some other instances, according to Massachusetts State records reviewed by The New York Times.

The N.R.A., however, seems to be losing patience with paying those it considers to have betrayed Mr. LaPierre.

“Simply put, the N.R.A. exists to fight for the Second Amendment,” the group said in its latest suit, “not pay other people’s bills.”

 

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26 thoughts on “NRA Suspends Second-in-Command, Implicating Him in Coup Attempt”

  1. Is there such a thing as loyalty, to something other than oneself. We have gotten to a place where everyone thinks they deserve something, and will do whatever it takes to get it. It seems that the passion for doing something worthwhile no longer matters, just their bank account.

  2. WTF are we reading about this in a reprinted NY Times article? Isn’t there a source that might be more reliable or trustworthy?

  3. To say it was a coup infers LaPierre is a dictator of the NRA. If that is the case than he needs to go now. We the members vote people in and it looks like the leadership needs a shake-up.

    1. It appears the word “coup” is merely being used by the writer to sensationalize the article and draw people in. Mr. LaPierre can be replaced by the Board at any moment, should they feel the need to do so. Calm down, read for yourself, gather facts-not buzz words, and draw logical conclusions….not conclusions a potentially biased writer may infer (whether here or elsewhere). Understand that the NRA Board does, in fact, appear to be shaking up things to ensure their primary mission of 2nd Amendment education and defense. They’ve replaced the president, sued the old one, sued their advertising firm, and placed the #2 guy on suspension–seems like a shake-up to me. The anti-gun groups love that our largest gun-rights organization has this matter to deal with. We need to stand as one, not fuel the fire and encourage infighting.

          1. Could Be a money grab. They do not Help California! That’s for Sure!! A Time for New Blood.

          2. So who would YOU pick to defeat anti gun legislation? Like it or not, the NRA is the ‘top gun’. By the way, it is NOT ‘there pockets’ but ‘their pockets’. Learn to spell.

  4. Mr. Cox is the reason I left the NRA. In my opinion Cox lead several states to removed “shall not be infringed” from their state constitutional gun right’s amendment. Apparently Mr. Cox would rather have a gun hating judge decide gun rights instead of a solid “shall not be infringe” constitutional amendment.

    1. Now THAT will show the NRA! NOT! With friends like you, who needs enemies? Like to generalize much and throw out the baby with the bath water? Grow up.

      1. It seems as though “Super Man’s” alter ego has his panties in a wad! It never seems to fail that some nra, (and the non-capitalization is intentional), fanboy that has his head firmly buried in the sand, or more probably up Wayne Lapierre’s backside, comes out blindly swinging with ad hominem attacks and sophomoric word play against anyone who even dares to call attention to the feet of clay possessed by his almighty god, the national rifle association. The nra is the perfect example of an organization that was founded to serve a worthy purpose, but now exists solely to perpetuate it’s own existence. For decades Cox and Lapierre have been using the pockets of honest and well meaning nra members as their own personal bank accounts to fund their lavish lifestyles while, at the same time, doing their dead level best to destroy the very thing the organization they lead was purportedly founded to protect, the 2nd Amendment! The dirty fingers of the nra have been on every major piece of Federal anti-gun legislation since the passage of the 1934 National Firearms Act, including the unconstitutional NICS check, the ’68 Gun Control Act, the closing of the machine gun registry,(which was a particularly dirty little piece of back room dealing by the nra), the 1994 Assault Weapons Ban, the Lautenberg Amendment, and just recently, the nra’s new darlings, “red flag” laws and the blatantly unconstitutional “bump stock” ban. What’s that old, trite and hackneyed saying? With friends like that, we don’t need enemies! As for “throwing the baby out with the bath water,” don’t you worry your empty little head about that 2nd Amendment baby, Gun Owners of America will take care of it just fine, until we can get every drop of that dirty old nra bath water drained out of the tub and refilled with clean PRO GUN bathwater! Now, go dry that nasty nra bathwater off of you, join Gun Owners of America and shut your festering gob until you can find something constructive and at least vaguely intelligent to say.

  5. Sounds like it might be time for new faces in both their jobs. New ideas as long as they benefit the NRA will never hurt the org. With the Commies on the other side we maybe need new blood to fight them. Been a member since the 70’s

  6. Sources I trust indicate that Mr. Cox resigned from his position with NRA rather than being suspended as this story alleges.

  7. seems every big organization reaches a point of being a bloated ,ineffective, bureaucracy whose executives figure out ways to line their own pockets. the mission is forgotten and self preservation along with filling their own pockets becomes the goal. who are the outside investigators to peel back the onion ?? their is none………. the rank and file are the true believers the executives look out for themselves Sad ………..

  8. This is a very long running scandal! It all started way back when Neal Knox, who was then head of the ILA, that was ousted in his bid to lead the NRA. He was a no compromise leader who was able to accomplish otherwise impossible gun related victories out of shear determination and had solid backing of the membership. He offered to half the CEO salary and supported the process of the membership voting for the CEO rather than just he Board

  9. It is time for the NRA Board of Directors to investigate this and make necessary changes and report the facts to the members. The silence conning from the NRA is defining.

  10. North needs to pay his own bills. Sure he is not poor by any means. Brought this on himself.As for Mr LaPierre, show me one executive of a large corporation who doesnt spend money on cloths and travel. Mr Lapierre has held this organization together for how long? As for Mr Cox???? Hold your Friends close…. Hold your enemies closer!!!

  11. ….and this write up is based on a NYT’s article…give me a break. The Left’s trying to sow dissention and weaken their primary enemy(the NRA) from within. Looks like MidSouth is helping them.

  12. Mr. LaPierre’s salary was just under $1,000,000 just before the end of 2015. Starting in 2016, he was “bumped” up to over $5,000,000, in addition to all his “perks” of trips, clothes, and God knows what other very lucrative benefits he avails himself to grab. This guy has a board-of-directors in name only who he apparently controls, as it appears that he does what he wants. There is no oversight on what he does, what he wants, or board member(s) who exert effective control. All of us long-time members should keep sending these “con-artists” more money. How about Wayne LaPierre dropping his salary down and sacrificing for the good of the organization. You ain’t going to see that happen!

  13. Looks like Chuck Schumer, et al are winning the battle. They have been vowing to destroy the NRA for some time now.This internal struggle, regardless of the reason, is what they have been waiting for.

  14. As long as Wayne LaPierre is the NRA president I WILL NEVER pay membership dues to the organization again!!! He compromises on issues constantly and immediately caved on the bump stock ban and I believe he calculatingly and purposely compromises to keep the membership in a state of near panic in order to bring new members on board so he can keep his high falutin life style and inflated salary coming in!?!? After I dropped out of the NRA I transferred my allegiance to the Gun Owners of America organization, the only NO COMPROMISE gun organization in the nation and I encourage everyone who loves their 2nd Amendment rights to do the join also!!!

  15. I’ve been an NRA Member since 1977, a Life Member since ‘86, and an Endowment, Patron, or Benefactor Life Member since 1994.

    I support the NRA, and the GOA, and hate the infighting between them, with pro gun people telling other pro gun people to “shut their festering gobs,” because they see things differently.

    On the one hand, I’m seeing that LaPierre has done a good job, on the other hand I think like Hoover at the FBI he’s grown to think he IS the NRA, and it’s our job to fund his extravagant lifestyle, and he seems to be cleaning house of any opposition.

    Like it or not the NRA is the premier RKBA .org in the country, along with their state affiliates like the great CRPA in besieged California. It can and should be saved, but I think that can be done by someone with an exclusive no compromise pro-2nd Amendment agenda, for say a measly $200,000 per year salary.

    Time to clean house at the NRA, and that may mean a whole new leadership, and I think LaPierre has to go. The infighting though is just thrilling the anti-gun media like the NYT, which I hate.

    1. I am feeling much the same as this gentleman. Wayne has been there for a long time and I also think it is good to put in new people with great ideas.

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