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Two Top Pryce Aides Leaving Conference for Private Sector

As House Republicans work to strengthen their message on Social Security and combat Democratic efforts to paint them as corrupt, GOP Conference Chairwoman Deborah Pryce (Ohio) is losing two of her senior leadership aides to the private sector.

Conference Chief of Staff Kathryn Lehman and Communications Director Greg Crist both plan to leave Capitol Hill in the coming weeks. Crist will join the communications practice at Dutko Worldwide, a government affairs firm. Lehman has not yet decided on her next job.

Current Conference Policy Director Andrew Shore will be promoted to replace Lehman, with Policy Adviser Shalla Ross moving up to take Shore’s old title. Crist’s communications post will be taken by House Budget Committee spokesman Sean Spicer.

“With the addition of Sean as well as the increased responsibilities taken on by Andrew and Shalla, I know the Conference will continue to be an effective and active voice for House Republicans,” Pryce said. “I have great confidence in my new team, and am looking forward to working with them to make the Conference as strong an advocate for our Members as possible.”

Though GOP aides said that both Crist and Lehman had been contemplating departure for some time, their moves come just one month after Pryce made comments to The Columbus Dispatch suggesting that she might leave the Conference post in the 110th Congress in order to pursue the chairmanship of either the Financial Services Committee or the Rules Committee.

Lehman has been on the Hill since 1989, when she got her start as a counsel on the House Judiciary Committee staff. She later went on to serve as a policy aide to then-Speaker Newt Gingrich (R-Ga.) and as policy director for then-House Majority Whip Tom DeLay (R-Texas). She took over the top job at the Conference when Pryce was elected to her post at the start of the 108th Congress.

Crist came to the Capitol in 1999 after stints working for then-Virginia Gov. George Allen (R) and for Ketchum Public Relations. He spent two years as a press aide at the Ways and Means Committee and another two with then-House Majority Leader Dick Armey (R-Texas) before joining the Conference staff in 2003.

Shore, meanwhile, will ascend to the chief of staff job after stints with several lawmakers, including Rep. Jim Nussle (R-Iowa), then-Reps. Phil Crane (R-Ill.) and Bill Archer (R-Texas) as well as then-Sen. Robert Dole (R-Kan.). Shore also spent two years as publisher of the Web site

Spicer has been the Budget panel spokesman since 2003. His career before that included posts with the National Republican Congressional Committee and the offices of Rep. Mark Foley (R-Fla.) and then-Rep. Mike Pappas (R-N.J.).

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