Former State Senator Miller seeks lobbying business from TEP

Former State Sen. Jeff Miller (R-Cleveland), the man who sponsored the constitutional ban on same-sex marriage, has solicited lobbying business from the Tennessee Equality Project (TEP).

Miller, who has a gay brother (Gregg), sent out the form letter from his law office in Cleveland, Tenn.

TEP President Christopher Sanders confirmed to Out & About Newspaper that he received a letter on Jan. 23 from Miller asking for TEP’s lobbying business.

“The letter was probably sent out to most organizations that have lobbyists,” Sanders told O&AN. “What he must have done is fail to check the list to see whom he had antagonized while he was on the Hill.”

Sanders said TEP would not be following up on the offer, citing Miller’s hypocrisy and damage done to the GLBT community.

“But we’d gladly accept a financial contribution to the TEP Foundation,” Sanders noted, adding, “given the trouble that he has caused for the GLBT community.”

TEP has employed Jenny Ford of JF Government Strategies as their contract lobbyist since Feb. 2005.

Miller was recently divorced from his wife of 15 years, who accused him of ''inappropriate marital conduct'' in a divorce complaint filed Feb. 25, 2005 in Bradley County . Several news sources said that Miller had an affair with a legislative employee later identified as a Miller aide.

"I suppose he thinks helping pass discriminatory bills would make him an effective advocate for the gay, lesbian and transgender community," Sanders told the Chattanooga Times Free Press.

In the letter addressed to TEP, Miller writes, “After my retirement from the legislature, I am pleased to offer to you my services as a lobbyist. Following the requisite waiting period, one year, on November 8, 2007, I will be extending the governmental relations division of my private practice in an effort to assist you and others in ensuring that legislation essential to the betterment of your business practices is supported and legislation to the detriment of your business practices is strongly opposed.”

Miller ends the letter saying “I look forward to working with you in the future and in the meantime, I am more than happy to offer you any advice you may need regarding the legislative process...”

TEP is preparing for the third annual Advancing Equality Day on the Hill on Feb. 20. The group has been holding training sessions in preparation for the day. The lobbying day will start at 8:30 a.m.  Organizers describe it as "a day in Nashville meeting with your legislators to express your views on proposed legislation affecting the gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender community."

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