Top NRA Comms Staffer Leaves Gun Lobby As Turmoil Escalates

ATLANTA, GA - APRIL 28:  Wayne LaPierre,  executive vice president and CEO of the NRA, speaks at the NRA-ILA's Leadership Forum at the 146th NRA Annual Meetings & Exhibits on April 28, 2017 in Atlanta, Georgia. The convention is the largest annual gathering for the NRA's more than 5 million members.  (Photo by Scott Olson/Getty Images)
Scott Olson/Getty Images North America

Another top National Rifle Association official, Jennifer Baker, is out at the organization amid ongoing inner tumult.

Baker was the director of public affairs for the NRA’s lobbying arm, the Institute for Legislative Action.

In a statement to TPM, the NRA downplayed the departure as part of “a reorganization of its public affairs function this week.”

“The change consolidates and improves our communications, public affairs, and social media functions,” the statement reads. “All these operations now operate under one department, eliminating a parallel function in NRA-ILA.”

Her departure comes after ILA Director Chris Cox resigned from the gun group last month. Cox, an influential lobbyist who helped manage the anti-gun control group’s strategy on Capitol Hill, left amid accusations from NRA leadership that he had been involved in attempting to orchestrate a coup against NRA chief Wayne LaPierre.

By a different token, some NRA members have begun to see Cox’s departure as an attempt from LaPierre to fend off a leadership challenge.

Baker’s departure also comes after months of scandal and turmoil for the NRA. The non-profit has seen an attempted coup against LaPierre by its former President Oliver North, leaked documents appearing to substantiate self-dealing allegations at the group’s top, and a legal battle with its longtime advertising partner Ackerman McQueen, all since April.

In the background is an investigation into the nonprofit by New York State attorney General Letitia James, as well as a recent probe opened by D.C. attorney general Karl Racine.

An NRA spokesman did not immediately return a request for comment about Baker’s departure.

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