The news yesterday regarding the National Rifle Association was headlined by a story in the New York Times that said Chris Cox, head of the NRA-ILA, was suspended and put on administrative leave. This followed a late Wednesday filing in New York Supreme Court (the trial level courts in that state) in which the NRA sought a declaratory judgment that Ollie North was not entitled to his legal expenses as a director of the NRA. Also suspended was Scott Christman who served as Cox’s deputy chief of staff at the NRA-ILA.
Both Cox and Christman are accused along with NRA Board member and former Congressman Dan Boren of participating in a failed “coup” attempt orchestrated by Ackerman McQueen and Ollie North. Cox vehemently denies this.
“The allegations against me are offensive and patently false,” Cox said. “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 New York lawsuit was filed on behalf of the NRA by outside counsel William Brewer III and his firm. It seeks a declaratory judgment stating that Ollie North is not entitled to reimbursement for legal fees and expenses incurred as a result of subpoenas in the second Ackerman McQueen lawsuit and the Senate Finance Committee’s request for documents. When a declaratory judgment is sought, it is making a statement that the facts are not in question and that the only thing sought is a declaration as to matters of law. That said, the complaint filed is a mish-mash of allegations that in no way could be considered a 100% recitation of facts. The full complaint is here.
The complaint alleges that North is an employee of Ackerman McQueen, that he had been asked to either resign from AckMac or the NRA board, that he has done neither, and that he orchestrated the “coup” attempt to oust Wayne LaPierre at the behest of AckMac. North is also accused of acting in bad faith and breaching his fiduciary duties to the NRA.
The complaint then includes this gratuitous mention of Chris Cox and Dan Boren. This is the only paragraph where either of these two are mentioned.
North and his co-conspirators orchestrated these threats through, among other
things, a string of text messages that are filed herewith. The text messages were produced in the
Virginia Litigation by Dan Boren, an NRA board member employed by one of Ackerman’s other
major clients, the Chickasaw Nation. Boren relayed the contents of Ackerman’s threatened letter
to North and helped to choreograph the ultimatum they presented to Mr. LaPierre. Moreover, in
email correspondence transmitted over non-NRA servers, 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. The same text messages and email messages
demonstrate that another errant NRA fiduciary, Chris Cox —once thought by some to be a likely
successor for Mr. LaPierre—participated in the Ackerman/North/Boren conspiracy.
The text message can be seen in this exhibit. It should be noted that from what I’ve been told that exhibits are not usually submitted when asking for a declaratory judgment. Reading the texts between Boren and Cox, I fail to see this as a “coup” attempt. Rather, in my opinion, it seems they are concerned about the war between AckMac and the NRA and its future impact on the NRA. Cox is correct when he calls what had been going on “a tragic mess”.
This whole affair is so Byzantine. It reminds more of a Soviet-style purge where ministers and members of the Politburo are being purged after the head of the KGB whispers in the ear of the aging General Secretary that they are plotting against him. Insert Wayne LaPierre into the role of the aging General Secretary and William Brewer into the role of KGB head and there you have it.