Charles Thomas, who was forced to resign as House Speaker Thom Tillis' chief of staff last month, has formed a new "government consulting" firm that he says will help people and groups plan how to approach lawmakers about issues.
But Thomas said Wednesday he will not be a lobbyist.
"I have no desire to do that," he said by phone on the General Assembly's first day of the short session.
Thomas resigned after news reports that he had a romantic relationship with a lobbyist for the home building lobby, which frequently seeks to influence policy at the General Assembly. Related revelations forced one other high-level staffer in the Speaker's office to resign at about the same time.
"I saw the name was available and got it," Thomas said. The company sat fallow until recently. "When you come up with a good name, if you don't get it and the website URL, someone else will and then they'll try to sell it back to you."
Thomas said he would help clients plot their strategies and help them hire lobbyists if necessary. He may also help design PR strategy or other efforts to influence lawmakers. He said the service will be useful for those who aren't long-time students of how the General Assembly functions.
"The average person or group doesn't have any idea how that place works," Thomas said of the legislature.