Asheville Board of Realtors faces “political advocacy” dues increase

Asheville Board of Realtors faces “political advocacy” dues increase-attachment0

The National Association of Realtors wants a $40 dues increase, noting that last year’s U.S. Supreme Court ruling on Citizens United offers new opportunities “to maintain and grow our political power in this new landscape.” That ruling opened the door to increased corporate spending for elections at all levels, including local ones. The Asheville Board of Realtors is asking its members to share their opinions on the dues increase.

Xpress obtained an email from the board’s coordinator, Valerie Martin, who prefaces the NAR’s announcement with a statement asking ABR members to weigh in. “This could have a major impact on your dues in the future and we want you to know the background on this recent proposal from NAR,” Martin writes. “Our board will be sending you a survey in the next few days to get your opinion on this, so please read the below.”

The NAR announcement cites the controversial Citizens United ruling as “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.” the announcement continues, “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.”

According to the email, the NAR will use the additional funds “exclusively to fund political advocacy efforts,” specifically the Realtor Party Political Survival Initiative. A video on the initiative’s site touts the defeat of a transfer tax in Montana.

Noting that “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,” the announcement explains that two-thirds of the funds collected will go to state and local boards “to help shape the opinions of candidates on real estate-related issues as they work their way up as elected leaders.” It also declares that, “It will create early relationships with state and local lawmakers/policymakers. It will shape the political make-up of state or local governing bodies.”

The full text of the e-mail is below.

— David Forbes, senior news reporter

ABR Members-
Please read the below announcement from NAR regarding a potential dues
increase.  This could have a major impact on your dues in the future and we
want you to know the background on this recent proposal from NAR.  Our board
will be sending you a survey in the next few days to get your opinion on
this, so please read the below important.  Also, below we have provided a
link that will provide additional information on this issue. Thank you for
your time.

——————————————————————————————————————
—————————————————————-

REALTOR® Party Political Survival Initiative

Talking Points

Why Did NAR Create the REALTOR® Party Political Survival Initiative

Ø In January of 2010, the Supreme Court ruled in the case of Citizens United
vs. the Federal Election Commission.

o   The ruling states that corporate dollars – so-called soft dollars—can
be used to fund independent expenditure campaigns.

Ø This not only changes the way elections are financed at the national
level, but it also overturns rulings that only allowed hard-dollars – those
funds specifically allocated for political purposes – to be used in 23
states.

o   This means political fundraising as we have known it for the past 100
years just shifted dramatically.

o   Corporate funds/dues can now be used to shape opinions about candidates
in ALL 50 states

Ø It is a game changer of gigantic proportions.

o   It is as if the goal posts on a 100 yard football field were expanded to
now cover 140 yards.

Ø 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.

o   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.

Ø To maintain and grow our political power in this new landscape, NAR
launched the REALTOR® Party Political Survival Initiative.

o   The REALTOR® Party Political Survival Initiative did not just happen
overnight.

o   It was the result of nearly a year of careful study and consideration.

What does the REALTOR® Party Political Survival Initiative mean for members?

Ø The proposal is for a dedicated dues increase of $40.00.

o   The increase would take effect in the 2012 budget year.

o   Because it is “dedicated” to this initiative, it would be used
exclusively to fund political advocacy efforts.

Ø In the past, NAR has already contributed funds to this initiative out of
its operating budget.

o   But to undertake the initiative at this level and give it a best chance
for success, greater additional funding is needed.

o   The increased dollars will be dedicated solely to advocacy purposes as
outlined by the Political Survival Initiative.

o   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?

Ø The most powerful benefit is it will keep the REALTOR® organization as one
of the most influential advocacy groups in America.

o   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.

o   We must have the power to shape this pivotal moment for the American
Dream of Home Ownership.

Ø Most importantly, these dollars will be available to state associations
and local boards.

o   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.

o   It will combine NAR funds with state/local funds to increase our
political power

o   It will create early relationships with state and local
lawmakers/policymakers

o   It will shape the political make-up of state or local governing bodies

Ø NAR President Ron Phipps often comments that “now is our time.”

o   With this initiative, REALTORS® are seizing the moment for home
ownership.

o   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.

o   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.

Ø The political press in Washington has already noted the emerging clout of
the REALTOR® Party.

o   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.”

More information can be found at:

http://www.realtor.org/topics/political_survival_initiative

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