U.S.A. -(Ammoland.com)- Large, powerful, political organizations such as the National Rifle Association (NRA) are seldom transparent or without internal struggles.
The internal struggles at the NRA have been enlarged to engulf Christopher W. Cox, head of the NRA Institute for Legislative Action (NRA-ILA). Christopher Cox has been suspended from his position at the head of the NRAILA.
Full disclosure: I am an NRA life member. I have not sent the NRA money for over a decade. I have watched the organization from the outside; I do not claim to have inside sources about what is going on.
From outside, it appears Wayne LaPierre was asked to step down as the Executive Vice President (EVP), by Oliver North, the President. It has been claimed that North threatened LaPierre with disclosure of embarrassing information about conflicts of interest and executive compensation.
An alternate explanation is that North warned Wayne LaPierre of serious problems, and offered a face-saving way out of the situation. This sort of internal solution to embarrassing affairs is fairly common.
To clarify, in the NRA, the EVP (Wayne LaPierre) is the person with the most power in the organization. The EVP has enormous influence over the NRA Board of Directors. The President is mostly a figurehead position, with little real power in the organization.
The Board of Directors formally elects the EVP, but in practice, the EVP has enormous power over who is elected to the Board and makes certain the Board is packed with people who back the EVP. This ensures the EVP stays in power.
The conflict within the NRA has been portrayed as an attempted coup to remove Wayne LaPierre as the EVP. Who Wayne would be replaced with has never been clear.
The conflict has also been portrayed as an attempt at cleaning up internal corruption at the NRA.
There is considerable money involved. Lawsuits and counter lawsuits have been filed by the parties involved, including the advertising firm Ackerman McQueen, which has been intimately involved with the NRA for decades, and which has profited enormously from the association.
Ackerman McQueen moved to end its 40-year association with the NRA about a month ago.
The two interpretations of what is going on are not mutually exclusive. Ongoing improprieties and a lack of transparency in the NRA's internal economics are accusations which have been made for over thirty years.
Clear evidence of improprieties could be used to shake up the NRA leadership. Some would consider such a shake-up to be a coup. Others would consider it to be necessary for reforms that should have happened a long time ago.
Watching the NRA from the outside, it appeared to me both Wayne LaPierre, and Chris Cox have been effective leaders, fighting to restore Second Amendment rights. The NRA has been pressured into this position by the advocacy of Second Amendment supporters and other pro-Second Amendment groups such as Gun Owners of America, the Second Amendment Foundation, and the Firearms Coalition.
Contrary to the Leftist/media narrative of the NRA as the driving force preventing the evisceration of the Second Amendment, the NRA has been relatively moderate, pressured by its members to become more proactive in defending and restoring Second Amendment rights.
Employing some of the techniques used in Cold War analysis of Kremlin watchers, I deduced Chris Cox, because of his position as a spokesman for the NRA and his prominent position during the Annual Meetings, was/is a prime candidate to take over the EVP position when Wayne LaPierre steps down.
At some point, Wayne LaPierre will need to step down as the EVP. He has held the position since 1991, for 28 years. At 69 years old, some think it is time. Others point to President Donald Trump, who is going strong at 72.
Christopher Cox, head of the NRA Instituted for Legislative Action, denies the allegations that he was involved in a “coup.” From the nytimes.com:
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.”
It is offensive to consider the leadership of the NRA, the most effective defender of Second Amendment Rights in the United States, with reportedly over five million members, would have to be changed with an internal coup.
Unfortunately, there is truth in the concept. Power at the NRA has been concentrated in the EVP over the last 35 years. It is nearly impossible for voting members of the NRA to elect enough reform-minded directors to the board to create change, because the board is the primary agent to choose its own members, by the board's nominating committee. The EVP has significant influence over who is on the nominating committee.
Chris Cox may be innocent of any wrong-doing and simply caught up in a powerplay to keep Wayne LaPierre on as EVP. Cox is the obvious choice as a replacement. Placing him under a cloud removes him as a choice.
The enemies of the Second Amendment are rejoicing at the internal troubles at the NRA.
For the conspiracy-minded, the internal troubles at the NRA come as New York Governor Cuomo has attacked the NRA with his power as Governor.
The NRA and President Trump have been significant allies. The left would love to have the NRA in turmoil, and unable to aid President Trump's re-election. Both Wayne LaPierre and Christopher Cox, the two most effective executives at the NRA, have been accused of wrongdoing.
The NRA is legally incorporated in New York State, giving Governor Cuomo and the bureaucracy he heads a lever to use against the organization.
About Dean Weingarten:
Dean Weingarten has been a peace officer, a military officer, was on the University of Wisconsin Pistol Team for four years, and was first certified to teach firearms safety in 1973. He taught the Arizona concealed carry course for fifteen years until the goal of constitutional carry was attained. He has degrees in meteorology and mining engineering, and recently retired from the Department of Defense after a 30-year career in Army Research, Development, Testing, and Evaluation.