The National Rifle Association placed its top lobbyist Chris Cox on administrative leave this week after it accused him of participating in an unsuccessful extortion scheme against chief executive Wayne LaPierre, according to the New York Times.
The NRA filed a lawsuit Wednesday in New York against former president Oliver NorthOliver Laurence NorthSunday shows preview: Biden issues new vaccine mandates; House committee marks up .5T reconciliation bill Is vaccine diplomacy the new 'soft diplomacy'? NRA head says in newly revealed recording that legal troubles have cost group 0 million MORE, who left the organization in April after LaPierre made the accusations. The organization accused Cox of conspiring with North in the alleged extortion in the lawsuit, according to the Times.
Cox told the New York Times Thursday that the allegations were "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," he added.
The lawsuit claimed North said he and the co-founder of Ackerman McQueen, the NRA’s longtime advertising firm before the organization cut ties this year, could negotiate “an excellent retirement” for Lapierre if he complied, according to the Washington Post.
The suit also named board member and former Rep. Dan Boren (D-Okla.) in the alleged conspiracy, according to the Times.
Electronic communications “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 lawsuit states, according to the newspaper.
The lawsuit follows a period of turmoil at the highest levels of the organization. A report in the Wall Street Journal published in May detailed tens of thousands of dollars in mismanaged spending by NRA leadership.
Shortly after the report was published, board member and retired Lt. Col. Allen West, a former Florida congressman, retracted his backing of LaPierre’s re-election.
The report came weeks after North was forced out and LaPierre was unanimously re-elected as CEO. Shortly after addressing the group’s convention in April, President TrumpDonald TrumpHillicon Valley — State Dept. employees targets of spyware Ohio Republican Party meeting ends abruptly over anti-DeWine protesters Jan. 6 panel faces new test as first witness pleads the Fifth MORE urged the NRA on Twitter to "get its act together quickly [and] stop the internal fighting."
The NRA did not immediately respond to a request for comment from The Hill.