A Look at NAR’S Political Contributions

by Zipporah Porton

Recently, AgentGenius did some digging into how much money NAR is really spending on political campaigns. With elections tomorrow, all of Chicagoland is in a buzz about voting choices. Some have already made a decision, while others are still on the fence and will have to make a “game-day” decision.

For more information about the the candidates running for Illinois governor, click here to take a look at who Realtors will be voting for tomorrow and why.

Back to NAR and what they’re spending, you might be surprised when you take a look at the high numbers. Realtors and politics have been mixing for a while, thanks to the formation of RPAC, which stands for Realtors Political Action Committee. In general, NAR picks a candidate to support, and the funds from RPAC go to that candidate’s campaign.

In this current election cycle, NAR ranks No. 7 as a political contributor, a ranking that may surprise many in the industry. Additionally, from 1989 – 2010, NAR has contributed a total of $83,945,931 to political campaigns. As contributions to candidates in Illinois specifically, NAR gave a total of $150,600 to Judy Baar Topinka’s campaign (7 on the top 10 list) and $146,500 to Michael Madigan (9th on the list).

As for lobbying, NAR has spent $144,607,380 from 1997-2010. Also, 55% of funds have gone to Republicans, 44% to Democrats and 1% to other. To view this information and more about NAR spending, click here.

This is quite a lot of money to go to political campaigns, and it’s not clear if agents get any say in where the money actually goes. How does this make you feel?

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  • Tim McDonald says:

    While I won’t say agents get all the say in where the money goes, I can tell you by getting involved with committees on the local, state and national level, your voice does get heard.

  • Harold Arnold says:

    Realtors should have some options because what I am reading does not sit well especially since I am paying dues to an organization that is suppose to represent us and does not allow for input.

  • Iver Johnson says:

    It is for the most part a Star Chamber proceeding without much direct REALTOR input from the grass roots as far as I can tell. There is obviously a material effort to fund campaigns of those they think will be winners in order to buy some influence and have a sympathetic ear to bend on issues of presumed import to REALTORS. Some of the candidates that have been supported nationally with substantial donations are environmental troglodytes and pretty despicable folks, although it seems to be getting a bit better in that regard as most of them lost. Practical politics perhaps, but totally cynical. The state record is perhaps a bit better, but there seems to be a lot of money going some people who are truly outrageous. The amount that has been spent is TOTALLY OUTRAGEOUS AND OBSCENE. I don’t like it when large corporate interests try to buy government, nor do I like it any better when we do it, or I should say when the powers that be at RPAC do it.

  • donnajoy says:

    I don’t like what I see about where RPAC money is going. I feel we as members of NAR should be able to voice our opinion.

  • Tom Rebarchak says:

    If any Realtor want a to have a say in who the NAR donates funds to, they should join their local boards Polital Action Committee.

    Rarely does everyone whole-heartedly agrees with any group decision, but at least they will have a chance for their voice will be heard!

    Complaining after doing nothing is like forgetting to vote and complaining about who got elected!

  • Mabel Guzman says:

    As a major donor I can understand the comments about the amount of money and also who we donate to. It is not about a Democratic or Republican candidate it is about candidates that are sympathetic to our issues. The REALTOR party. This also, goes beyond a tax credit. It is about bills that never made it out of committee and that were made reasonable prior to passage. As far as the system that was created by large funds it was created by us the voting public. We allowed it by our lack of participation. Become engage, run for office and impact the political landscape beyond posting on blogs. I feel empowered because my trade association is engaged and has many of us (myself included) in the discussion and the solutions. I have had the privilege to meet with FHA Commissioner David Stevens and discuss loan limits as well as with the FHFA, being part of shaping housing policy in Illinois and also give REALTOR input for the NSP (Neighborhood Stabilization Program) and also being part 30,000- home owners able to file tax appeal. Your local, state and national associations are working on our behalf. RPAC is our job security. There is a Kipling quote “the strength of the pack is the wolf, the strength of the wolf is the pack” RPAC is our strength.

  • Ann says:

    RPACs frequently make large contributions to candidates who Do Not reflect my values. Further, we have no input in the decision-making. Thus, I do not contribute to PACs at Any level – local, State or Federal.

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