A recent comparison by Agent Genius showed that while many criticize Google and Facebook’s annual lobbying costs, those for NAR and NAHB are within the same realm.
In the second quarter of 2011, Google spent $2.06 million on lobbying (a 54 percent increase over 2010) and Facebook’s lobbying spend was $320,000.
“When we heard these numbers and read opinion columns opining about the large amounts of money the two companies are spending and the feigned outrage is interesting to us. Our immediate thought was “why the outrage over two million dollars, haven’t these people ever heard of real estate lobbying?” We analyzed real estate spending back in 2010 and many people were shocked at how many industry dollars go toward Capitol Hill,” said Agent Genius.
NAR’s spending on lobbyists “is one of the largest in the entire nation,” at $36,887,000 from 2009 to 2010 and $2,980,000 thus far in 2011, according to a chart comparing NAR and NAHB with Google and Facebook. NAHB’s spending was not as significant as NAR’s at $6,460,000 in 2009-2010 and a current cost of $540,000.
Contributions were also divided by those to Democrats, those to Republicans, and those to “other,” as well as state contributions and federal contributions.
Of these categories, Facebook is 100 percent federal contributions, and 77 percent of contributions were to Democrats. Google also demonstrated 66 percent federal contributions and 58 percent Democrat contributions.
Political contributions for 2009-2010 varied widely for each; NAR had $14,683,574, NAHB had $3,570,149, Facebook had $59,520 and Google had $1,409,395.
“Not only are political contributions and spending on lobbyists dramatically higher in the real estate industry compared to technology as demonstrated above, contributions are spread more evenly between state and federal contributions in real estate. Support for Democrats and Republicans varies widely, even within leaders in each sector and NAR appears to be the most fair, indicating that it is often an office that is supported rather than the idea of an individual,” said Agent Genius.
NAR had a 42 percent and 50 percent split, to Democrats and Republicans, respectively, with the leftover 8 percent falling in the “other category.” NAHB had 62 percent going to Democrats and 38 percent to Republicans.