The National Rifle Association continued in chaos on Wednesday when its top lobbyist set up his TV arm, and the organization discontinued all business relationships with its long-standing advertising agency.
Christopher W. Cox, who was on administrative leave, officially came down days after being charged with a lawsuit to attend an alleged extortion order to hold the organization's CEO, Wayne LaPierre. Cox has denied the allegations.
LaPierre informed NRA's staff about Cox's departure in an email. In that he referred the allegations in the trial as the reason why Cox was dismissed. He also thanked Cox for his years at the organization and his advocate for other change rights.
Cox could not be reached on comment Wednesday.
Cox received about $ 1.1 million in compensation in 2017, according to NRA's latest tax application. As a second commander, he led the NRA's strong political arm that used a record $ 30 million to help President Trump.
The withdrawal has raised concern among some employees and board members who note that Virginia lawmakers are convened for a special session on gun control and that democratic presidential candidates aggressively promote anti-gun platforms.
Cox departure comes as another potent NRA force has been closed. An NRA spokesman said NRATV – who sometimes streamed dire, dystopian programming that had nothing to do with weapons – no longer exists. It was long controversial, as a segment digitally added the Ku Klux Klan hoods to trains in the children's exhibition "Thomas the Tank Engine", a criticism of the show's producers who are trying to make its characters more diverse.
Many members of the NRA Board were concerned that NRATV went too far into politics and away from other amendments. Its interruption was first reported by the New York Times.
NRATV was a collaboration between the organization and its long-term advertising agency, Ackerman McQueen, as it is involved in several lawsuits. The end of NRATV also marks the final break in the business relationship between the two organizations that worked closely together for decades and helped mark the NRA as a fighting group that would aggressively defend other change rights.
"NRA regrets that a prolonged past productive relationship has ceased in this way," wrote NRA spokesman Andrew Arulanandam in a letter Tuesday to Ackerman's CEO Revan McQueen.
In a statement on Wednesday, Ackerman accused the NRA of refusing to make millions of dollars in "criminal payments" owed to the company, but said it was clearly breaking down with the group.
"For Ackerman McQueen, it's time to move on to a new chapter without the chaos that has enclosed the NRA," said the company.
The changes come at a difficult time for the NRA. In April, LaPierre announced the organization's board that its then president, Oliver North, would publish a letter with a "devastating" statement on the organization's economy if LaPierre did not go down. Cox is alleged to have participated in what the NRA calls this extortion attempt under the lawsuit filed last week against the North.
The Nordic countries stepped down and said that the organization's economy was in "clear crisis."
The NRA is also facing a probe of its nonprofit status by the New York lawyer general and a congressional investigation.