It's entirely probable you've heard about the new NAR Realtor® Party Political Survival Initiative introduced at the AE Institute this past Sunday. While NAR has not made a broad announcement of the program yet, our AE's are returning from their meetings this week with information on the initiative and word has been getting out from Inman, from the blogs, and of course on Realtor.org itself.
According to NAR, the initiative was launched partially in response to last years Supreme Court decision, the celebrated Citizens United Case. As forecast, that decision stands as a game changer in the lobbying world granting corporations the same rights as individuals to contribute to political campaigns. The price of doing business has just gone up and if you want to stay at the table with the serious players, you'd better step up your game.
That's what NAR is proposing by instituting a mandatory $40 dues increase effective 2012. The issue will be voted on at NAR's Mid-Year Legislative meetings in May.
The following is a post by NAR stating their reasons for launching the initiative. I would encourage you to read it. I have also included the slide show presented to our AE's in Dallas this past Sunday. I have no doubt this will be hotly debated as we approach our May meetings and I encourage you to make you opinions knows to me, to your local associations as well as your state and NAR Directors. Make sure to note that 2/3 of the funds raised will be channeled back to your state and local associations for local purposes.
Why did NAR create the REALTOR® Party Political Survival Initiative?
• In January of 2010, the Supreme Court ruled in the case of Citizens United vs. the Federal Election Commission.
• The ruling states that corporate dollars—so-called soft dollars—can be used to fund independent expenditure campaigns.
• This not only changes the way elections are financed at the national level, but it also overturns restrictions that allowed only hard dollars—those funds contributed for political purposes by individuals, rather than corporations—to be used in 23 states.
• This means political fundraising as we have known it for the past 100 years just shifted dramatically.
• Corporate funds/dues can now be used to shape opinions about candidates in ALL 50 states.
• It is a game changer of gigantic proportions.
• It is as if the goal posts on a 100 yard football field were expanded to now cover 140 yards.
• In order for “The Voice for Real Estate” to have the impact it has had for the past 100 years in terms of political advocacy, the REALTOR® organization is stepping up its game.
• No one has spoken with more power or as passionately about protecting private property rights and fighting for opening the door to the American Dream of Home Ownership than the REALTOR® Family.
• To maintain and grow our political power in this new landscape, NAR launched the REALTOR® Party Political Survival Initiative.
• The REALTOR® Party Political Survival Initiative did not just happen overnight.
• It was the result of nearly a year of careful study and consideration.
What does the REALTOR® Party Political Survival Initiative mean for members?
• The proposal is for a dedicated dues increase of $40.00.
• The increase would take effect in the 2012 budget year.
• Because it is “dedicated” to this initiative, it would be used exclusively to fund political advocacy efforts.
• In the past, NAR has already contributed funds to this initiative out of its operating budget.
• But to undertake the initiative at this level and give it a best chance for success, greater additional funding is needed.
• The increased dollars will be dedicated solely to advocacy purposes as outlined by the Political Survival Initiative.
• If this dues increase is approved, over 50% of NAR budget would be devoted to political advocacy, which consistently ranks among members as the #1 benefit they receive from NAR.
What are the benefits of the Political Survival Initiative?
• The most powerful benefit is it will keep the REALTOR® organization as one of the most influential advocacy groups in America.
• There are monumental issues coming down the pike that will affect members in their daily businesses, such as the future of mortgage finance and keeping housing affordable in America.
• We must have the power to shape this pivotal moment for the American Dream of Home Ownership.
• Most importantly, these dollars will be available to state associations and local boards.
• 2/3rds of the dollars raised will be returned back to states to be used in support of local candidates and issue campaigns, and for other political advocacy needs—to help shape the opinions of candidates on real estate-related issues as they work their way up as elected leaders.
• It will combine NAR funds with state/local funds to increase our political power
• It will create early relationships with state and local lawmakers/policymakers
• It will shape the political make-up of state or local governing bodies.
• NAR President Ron Phipps often comments that “now is our time.”
• With this initiative, REALTORS® are seizing the moment for home ownership.
• We are doing this NOT ONLY because of the Citizens United Supreme Court decision, but because our core competency is our grass roots advocacy; it’s where we need to be investing today so our future advocacy efforts will be successful tomorrow.
• We need to be grooming our "REALTOR® Champions" at the state / local levels now, before some of them progress to become elected leaders at the federal level.
• The political press in Washington has already noted the emerging clout of the REALTOR® Party.
• A recent article in Politico said: “REALTORS®… are going to want to be politically effective, and a large measure of their influence is that they are present everywhere.”
• Now is our time to seize the day.