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Ex-GOP Rep. lobbies in support of ENDA

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Former Rep. Deborah Pryce (R-Ohio) has joined the ranks of GOP lawmakers lobbying in support of the Employment Non-Discrimination Act (ENDA). 

Pryce, now a senior political adviser at Ice Miller Whiteboard, registered to lobby for American Unity Fund, a conservative-leaning group that supports gay rights. Pryce began lobbying for the group on Feb. 24, according to disclosure records.

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ENDA would ban discrimination in the workplace based on sexual orientation or gender identity. The bill passed the Senate last November in a historic 64-32 vote but so far has failed to move in the House.

American Unity Fund supports “advancing the cause of freedom for gay and lesbian Americans by making the conservative case that freedom truly means freedom for everyone,” according to its website.

Pryce, also a former chair of the House Republican Conference, joins other former GOP lawmakers who are lobbying for the group. Former Sen. Norm Coleman (R-Minn.), of counsel to law firm Hogan Lovells, registered to lobby for American Unity Fund and earned $60,000 last quarter, according to records.

Former Rep. Tom Reynolds (R-N.Y.), a senior strategic policy adviser at Nixon Peabody, along with Sally Vastola, once executive director and chief operating officer of the National Republican Congressional Committee, are also registered to lobby for the group, taking in $30,000 last quarter.

Overall, American Unity Fund spent $510,000 on lobbying last year, according to records. The group is tied to Paul Singer, a major Republican donor who has supported efforts to legalize gay marriage.

ENDA has garnered 202 co-sponsors in the House so far, including six Republican members. 

ENDA supporters have worked to secure GOP backers to move the bill, encouraging brand-name companies to come out in favor of the legislation. Gay rights groups have tried to leverage that business support to win over Republicans.