Chris Cox is out.
The New York Times reported today that the National Rifle Association has suspended Chris Cox for his role in the Oliver North-led “coup” to oust Wayne LaPierre.
The move follows a lawsuit filed yesterday against Oliver North, the former NRA president who reportedly asked Wayne LaPierre to step down.
LaPierre, of course, has installed enough of his friends in high places on the NRA Board to block any effort to force his departure. So in the end, it was Oliver North who was forced from his presidency early.
Plenty of us know there has been some bad blood between LaPierre and Cox for some time. However, this move by LaPierre and his cronies will surely deepen the conflict within the organization’s headquarters and with its members. After all, Cox didn’t buy ten $20,000 suits and bill them to the NRA. Nor did he put up sorority girl interns in $4500 condos for their summer internships and bill it to the NRA.
The palace intrigue at the National Rifle Association deepened on 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 fresh detail 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 Mr. Cox 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.
It seems that instead of trying to let this matter calm down and leave the public eye, the leadership of the NRA doesn’t mind continuing to pour gasoline on this internal conflict.