Tillis: Second staffer had relationship with lobbyist

Posted May 1, 2012

House Speaker Thom Tillis

North Carolina House Speaker Thom Tillis said Tuesday that he has asked a second staff member to resign because the person had inappropriate romantic relationship with a lobbyist.

“What these people are guilty of (is) very bad judgment,” Tillis, R-Mecklenburg, said on a conference call with reporters late Tuesday.

Asked if he believed any laws were broken, he said, “Absolutely not. To me, this is nothing more than a very sad story of bad personal choices.”

Tillis’ office was roiled last week when reports surfaced that his chief of staff, Charles Thomas, had been romantically involved with Jessica Hayes, a lobbyist for the North Carolina Home Builders Association, one of the most influential industry groups in the state.

Tillis said he conducted interviews with staff members on Sunday and found that a second staff member had also been involved with a lobbyist. He would not name the staff member by name, but described her as a policy adviser.

Tillis has only one policy adviser at the moment, Amy Hobbs. He confirmed that he had only one policy adviser when asked directly but still did not single out Hobbs by name. 

He did say that the policy adviser had resigned and that documents related to her work would be released later this week.

As House speaker, Tillis controls the flow of legislation through the chamber. Although he must work with the 120 members of the House, especially the 68 other Republicans, his word has significant influence over what bills are heard and which are not.

“The lobbyist in question was someone who has represented Equality NC during the long session last year,” Tillis said. “Then, after the long session, the same lobbyist has been retained by two other clients. The two that we’ve identified have been home and hospice and another one related to game fishing.”

The only person that fits that description is Dean Plunkett, a contract lobbyist who is a veteran of many legislative sessions.

Neither Hobbs nor Plunkett could be reached for comment.

Tillis said that he would institute policies to make clear that such relationships were inappropriate and said his office should answer to “a higher standard.”

Pressed on the matter, he said, “I see zero indication of any impropriety.”

Neither Equality NC, which was fighting against lawmakers putting the marriage amendment on the May ballot, or the home builders got everything they wanted last year, he said.


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  • SARCASTICLES May 2, 2012

    Yeah........BWWAAAAAAAHAAHAAHAAAHAAAAAA! It ain't about what the republicans do, it's the hypo-creep denial/deflection that kicks in when they eventually get busted. Priceless? You BETcha! ;) ;)

  • wral mods blow close my account May 2, 2012

    Maybe his staffers were jealous by all the time Thom Tillis spends in bed with ALEC? - corey3rd


  • wral mods blow close my account May 2, 2012

    "All you libs enjoy your day pilling on Speaker Tillis. - Cwood3."

    That should be easy. Everyone is already horizontal at his office.

  • SARCASTICLES May 2, 2012

    Boy HOWDY that didn't take long! And to think this came from the "Thou Shalt Not Git None" crowd. I bet they were either "Doin' it for their country" or they'll claim: "We were just following the tactics of the left".....good luck in 2072, NCGOP. ;)

  • bigal02282 May 2, 2012

    If we go by the right wing definition of responsibility, let's use "personal responsibility" as an example since it is what they love to talk about, then no matter what happens, the people whom you have chosen to provide you with your information, who you hired as your staff, who are there doing your bidding and work, these people are a REFLECTION of YOUR JUDGEMENT AND YOUR LEADERSHIP. WHY would these people feel that it is OKAY to "lay down in sin and adultery" (according to the Bible anyway, which is another thing the right wing loves to trot out) UNLESS their leader has given tacit approval either through his guidance, his standards of conduct or his outright example? You are so quick to BLAME the President for every single action of the thousands of people in government who WORK FOR HIM. Let's keep it consistent here folks!

  • bigal02282 May 2, 2012

    cwood3 is just following the right wing playbook. Deny and deflect, accuse your accuser, bring up something else when you cannot defend the position you have now, NEVER use logic when arguing a point, make up facts if you need to, call the media liberal and biased any time they publish a story not flattering to your side, make CERTAIN you start a rumor or two any time you have the chance, and above all, NEVER EVER EVER admit that you have absolutely no idea what you are talking about.

  • bigal02282 May 2, 2012

    "All you libs enjoy your day pilling on Speaker Tillis. - Cwood3."

    Okay! We WILL! heh heh heh

  • dennis23 May 2, 2012

    Tired of hanging around in the clubs and bars or going to the online dating sites to meet that special someone. Go hang out at the legislative or capitol building. They both offer a safe and secure atmosphere where you can relax and enjoy talking politics with that special someone and if you're lucky you may even get to do that lobby thing they do.

  • jlp May 2, 2012


    What a sheep. I think many are trying to point out to you that many of the politicians on both sides are corrupt. People like you only blame one party or the other when they both stink. Wake up.

  • joeblink May 2, 2012

    Term Limits!! Not just for 'leadership' positions, but especially those if we can't get term limits for every member of every legislative body as well as all executive branch, Council of State, electees and appointees. I hope the Republican majority in the House decides that a change is in order in their own leadership, and votes someone else into the Speaker role other than Mr. Tillis. Surely there is another Republican who has better judgement in selection of staff in high paid 'policy' positions. Otherwise, we seem to be headed down the same road as the previous party traveled. Just a different crowd with a different label.