Lobbyists claim North Carolina GOP
lawmakers are applying pressure to keep them and the businesses they
represent quiet about a controversial state law that targets the LGBT
More than 200 companies have already
spoken out against the law, which blocks cities from enacting LGBT
protections and prohibits transgender people from using the bathroom
they identify with in government buildings, including schools.
According to NBC
affiliate WRAL, the pressure is coming directly from lawmakers or
their staffs. Eleven lobbyists told the station that they have
experienced or are aware of such actions, but none would talk on
camera about the issue. Lobbyists say that they've been told to keep
quiet on the law or they could become the target of legislation.
They described the pressure as a “gross
abuse of power” and “vicious.”
“It's really disturbing,” said Rep.
Chris Sgro, a Democrat from Guilford. “It's a bullying tactic that
potentially leadership is using. If it's true that businesses are
being threatened that they need to ignore their bottom line in favor
of terrible public policy, that's just irresponsible. That needs to
Senate leader Phil Berger and House
Speaker Tim Moore denied the claims.