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REALTOR Party Political Survival Initiative

March 30th, 2011
March 30, 2011

If passed, RPPSI would give REALTORS® the power
to shape this pivotal moment for home ownership

Earlier this month, the National Association of REALTORS® (NAR) announced the formation of the REALTOR® Party Political Survival Initiative, proposing a dedicated dues increase of $40, which would keep the REALTOR® organization among the most influential advocacy groups in America.

The proposal will be voted on by the NAR Board of Directors at the Midyear Legislative Meetings & Trade Expo in May.

Because the proposed dues increase is “dedicated” to this initiative, those dollars would be used exclusively to fund political advocacy efforts. If it is approved, over 50 percent of the NAR budget would be devoted to political advocacy, which consistently ranks among members as the No. 1 benefit they receive from NAR.

Two-thirds of the dollars raised would be returned back to state boards that have met their previous year’s RPAC fundraising goals, to be used in support of local candidates, issue campaigns, and other political advocacy efforts.

The leadership of the New Hampshire Association of REALTORS® is working with the leadership of our 14 local REALTOR® boards to provide a forum for your comments and concerns, to be heard by your NAR Directors prior to their voting at the May NAR Board of Directors meeting.

Your local, state and national REALTOR® leadership value your comments and want to hear from you.  You may contact your local board to provide comments, or:

To post a comment to NHAR click the “comments” button above right or below.

To post a comment to NAR, click here.

Send an email to NAR at rppsi@realtors.org.

To learn more, please visit the REALTOR® Political Survival Initiative page at REALTOR.org by clicking here.

Leadership, REALTOR Association , , ,

  1. Paul Mayer
    May 6th, 2011 at 12:02 | #1

    I am opposed to the dues collection program and would recommend that the NH delegation vote against any soft money initiatives put forward.

    Our strength in the past has been the direct contributions and face to face access, to State & Federal candidates that support REALTOR issues. This program collects funds that can not be given to candidates in anyway and can only be used to buy direct mail or media advertising. Soft money laws, specifically bans communication or coordination between the contributors and the candidates.

    Our current hard money system allows us to influence the political process without publicizing our position on issues. Soft money can only be used for public issue advertising. The danger with that form of political speech is that unlike a corporation or a labor union, our membership is a diversified group. We will surely risk alienating “half” of our Realtor family on any given issue we start running ads on, not to mention the potential backlash from the public toward the Realtor image, if we are seen as trying to change legislation for our memberships’ financial gain.

    Our ability to collect hard money to support the R-PAC direct contributions to candidates will be reduced by 40 – 50% in the first year after this initiative goes into effect, based on comments by NAR staff. This will gut years of relationships that we have developed.

    Our National Association is not currently restricted from doing any soft money political campaigns it feels are necessary. It currently, has access to over $100M for this type of political speech without increasing dues or re-directing funds from other successful programs.

    I know some people will say that the program has been vetted, and other people know better what is right for the Realtor association. We should just go along with what NAR wants. But, remember the managers at Enron, Leman Brothers, AIG and a hundred other companies and groups over the last 10 years thought they were right too.

  2. Steve Colby
    April 26th, 2011 at 10:18 | #2

    Absolutely not! We are paying enough dues already. Remember there’s a recession on..high gas and food prices. No way.

  3. Tom Heany
    April 21st, 2011 at 11:42 | #3

    I feel like the reason for the creation of this initiative is lost among the rhetoric that I am reading here. The need is to ensure our political survival in an environment that has been radically changed by the recent Supreme Court Decision.

    Soft money will be raised, contributed and accepted by our nation’s leaders. That soft money will give the contributors the ear of our nation’s politicians. This initiative allows our voice to be heard at the table.

    When the meeting gets held to discuss whether banks should be allowed to get into the business of real estate brokerage, I want our interests represented at that table. In an era of extreme budget cuts, when the decision to discontinue the home mortgage deduction is made, I want our voices to be heard at that meeting too. This initiative gives us the clout to ensure that our interests are represented too.

    This initiative is not about NAR’s arrogance, nor a forced political contribution to support candidates that I didn’t vote for, nor is it about my philosophical stance on the validity of PACs. It is about ensuring the survival of our business as we know it. In a rush to complain about a $40 annual increase, I do not want to be “pennywise and pound foolish” by saving myself some small change and losing my ability to continue to conduct my business as I have for the past 26 years.

    The Supreme Court has rendered its ruling, the rules of the game have changed, but I’m committed to keep playing on. And if I’m going to play I want to win. I don’t want to be the guy who says “remember when we could have saved our livelihood, but we didn’t because it cost 40 bucks?” That’s why I’m in full support of our NAR leadership and this initiative.

  4. April 20th, 2011 at 15:44 | #4

    Please attend the Town Hall meeting that NHAR is Hosting to Discuss
    REALTOR® Party Political Survival Initiative. It’s being held Thursday, April 21, from 2-4 p.m. at the Grappone Conference Center, 70 Constitution Ave. Concord.
    This is your opportunity to learn the facts about the RPPSI, to
    hear about recent changes to the initiative and to ask questions of the panelists.
    Please RSVP by e-mailing rsvp@nhar.org

  5. Lauri Bessey
    April 18th, 2011 at 15:43 | #5

    Although I do appreciate all of the advocacy NAR does for us, I do not think adding $40 to membership dues is the way to fund this. There must be other places in the budget for NAR to get this funding. I think the optional RPAC donation will decrease significantly if a $40 mandatory increase is added to dues. If I were voting, it would be no. Good luck Monika, this is a tough one.

  6. Bill Barry
    April 11th, 2011 at 16:05 | #6

    ABSOLUTELY NOT. Monica vote NO!!! All PAC’s in this country should be banned – Archer Daniel Midland, Cargill, AMA, the Insurance Industry and………Realtors. I absolutely refuse to pay a mandatory “political contribution”.

  7. April 8th, 2011 at 12:41 | #7

    Thank you all for the heartfelt and well thought out comments. As a voting NAR director your opinions are very important to me and I will be sure to discuss your concerns with the other three voting directors.
    Please keep the comments coming, this is your association and your voice matters!
    Thank you all so much!

    Monika McGillicuddy
    NHAR 2010 President

  8. Bill Murphy
    April 8th, 2011 at 11:54 | #8

    Never! Do a line-item audit on the budget before you get this drastic.

  9. George Colby
    April 6th, 2011 at 08:57 | #9

    Dear Board Members,

    While I value the political action work of our organization as an important part of having our industry represented in govenrment I do not support an additional increase in mandatory fee’s during this very difficult market. I would be more supportive of voluntary requests to support specific efforts that address exactly what issue we are trying to influence and how the funds will be used.

  10. Kathleen King
    April 5th, 2011 at 22:00 | #10

    I am not in favor of a mandatory dues increase for this purpose. Political contributions should be voluntary. It’s similar to being forced to pay union dues. Not interested!

  11. Darline Crane
    April 5th, 2011 at 11:35 | #11

    I have given to RPAC an average of $100 in past years. Now an additional $40 is being placed on dues! I will have cut my voluntary contribution amount. As it was, my contribution was always requested to go to Issues and Mobilization, since politicians/candidates did not remember who supported them when it came to voting on a housing issue. NO! To the increase of dues.

  12. Donna Smith
    April 4th, 2011 at 06:42 | #12

    NO NO NO! We pay enough in dues and even have to pay for Realtor.com. It’s time that the NAR, state and local realtor organizations look at their spending and bring it in line w/the rest of us: cut the waste; provide value added services at a reasonable cost. I don’t want to pay for this TAX which is open ended and driven at the top. I don’t agree with some of your ideas now and certainly don’t think the government, US, needs to spend money on anything that doesn’t benefit our safety or the infrastructure.

  13. Brenda Huxley
    April 1st, 2011 at 13:38 | #13

    I will not donate to a PAC. I think it is completely outrageous that NAR wants to do this. I so strongly disagree with this.

  14. Linda Hampson
    March 31st, 2011 at 19:12 | #14

    I completely do not agree with increasing my dues by $40.00 to fund political advocacy efforts to influence the outcome of legislation. Sounds like NHAR is becoming a lobby or worse a union.

  15. Karen Hutchinson
    March 31st, 2011 at 15:50 | #15

    I hope this political fee is voluntary as is the PAC contribution. Some Realtors don’t like the political positions taken. Even in a union you pay political contributions voluntarily. Our Fees are quite high enough. Combine National with state and local, I pay close to $600. and that doens;t include MLS membership or key pad rental.

  16. Diana Hoyt
    March 31st, 2011 at 14:41 | #16

    No, no, no. I will not be forced into “donating” to a PAC.

  17. March 31st, 2011 at 12:14 | #17

    This is nothing more then a $ arms race to see who can collect the most. The problem in politics is not that there is not enough money. The problem is there is too much! This will fundamentally change the meaning of what a REALTOR is. I have no interest in being a part of what will become nothing more then a K Street lobbying firm. This will not “buy us a seat at the table”, but rather it will end the relationship of the individual agent with what was once one of the brightest lights in real estate education and ethics.
    Currently the NAR dues break down is as follows according to the NAR.ORG website. $23 to legislative/regulatory advocacy, $15 to consumer and member relationship building, $15 to state and local association services and support, $10 to economic and tech research, $5 to publications, $5 to commercial/international alliances, and $7 to Code of Ethics/legal policy and enforcement, totaling $80. As you can see currently legislative/regulatory advocacy (or lobbying) is more any other item and 29% of the total budget. Under this new proposal everything but legislative/regulatory advocacy stays the same. It goes up to $63 (23 + 40). A 174% increase and becomes 52.5% of the total NAR budget! And ethics training stays the same? We sit and proclaim how important ethics are. It seems that’s all the entire image campaign talks about, but we fund it the least!
    Under this proposal $153,120 (5800 members X $40 X 2/3) is supposed to come back to NH, if we meet our “fair share” goal. We did not meet this goal in 2009 or 2010. I see little hope that we will meet the goal in 2011, with this proposal on the table. According to the NAR talking points it is separate from RPAC. So who controls it? Who determines what it is spent for in our state? Who vets the candidates and issues? Seeing as it’s doubtful we will make our “fair share goal” those decisions will not be made in NH but in DC or Chicago. RPAC donations will fall off a cliff. If 50% of member’s dues are already going to lobbying why should they give more? Currently at the end March of 2011, just 5 months after the last election cycle, our NH RPAC checking account holds $173,000. This is more then we can possibly spend if we made the maximum allowable donation under law to all our national senate and congressional candidates and our NH state senate candidates running in 2012 election. Whether they agreed with our positions or not! And NAR wants to pump even more money in! It is a recipe for abuse, mismanagement, and disaster in my opinion.
    The banks, insurance companies, and lawyers will ALWAYS have more money then us. But what we have are individuals in every community ready to talk to their representatives. When we beat the banks on their getting into real estate they outspent us many times over and they had the chairman of the banking committee in their hip pocket. Through a lot of hard work by our members we won. We beat them because we were able to get thousands individual REALTORS to tell their reps how important this was. Let’s play to our strengths and not our weaknesses. As a former NH RPAC chair and a former NH RPAC trustee I think the RPPSI is very worst thing we can do, and will be the death of us not the “survival.” I urge our leadership to reject it as harmful to our association which many of us have worked so hard for.
    Richard Whitney

  18. March 31st, 2011 at 12:14 | #18

    Great idea to form the REALTOR® Party Political Survival Initiative.
    Bad idea to require a dedicated dues increase of $40 in these economic times.
    Truly, I understand the need for a strong political presence, but everyone is feeling the pinch
    from the changes in our industry, the market and the global economy.

    Now is the time to be tighten the belt of spending, not adding to its waistline.

    First, looking at where spending can be shifted from one area of NAR to be allotted to the REALTOR® Party Political Survival Initiative is essential. If it is important enough to commit to for REALTOR Survival, it should be be worthy of redirecting funds to it from NAR’s current budget.

    Those are the tough choices individuals have to make with their own personal budgets when emergencies and quality of life changes arise.

    The second step should be statewide fund raising at the local Boards. This political climate has been brewing for a long time and will continue to require our activism physically and fiscally. Providing information and education at each of the Boards as to the benefits of the RPPSI and asking for donations is a better route than requiring us to pay for something new.

    I appreciate what RPAC is able to accomplish on behalf of REALTORS and to protect consumer property rights, which is ultimately our industry’s security. That said, I do not always agree with the RPAC, how the money is spent that I give, or the decisions it makes on my behalf.
    I would like more control over the purse strings of a new organization such as RPPSI, and have the flexibility to give more as I see the benefit it offers and give less, if the group works counter to my expectations.

    Thank you for requesting our input!

  19. Stephanie
    March 31st, 2011 at 10:47 | #19

    I feel that being forced to pay additional money to essentially be part of a political group is infringing upon a constitutional freedom. Having to pay dues to be part of NAR is a requirement of my job as a Realtor. But to be part of political group should be optional. Typically in a workplace, religion and politics are separate, private and respected. If my name as a Realtor is associated with a certain political group, that might not sit well with clients, potential clients, friends and relatives. In all honesty, if you look at any political group, usually they are not bipartisan. That’s what I’m worried about. As a good rule of thumb I keep political opinions and religious beliefs to myself. This is infringement and may put me in a precarious position in my business.

  20. Brad Vear
    March 31st, 2011 at 09:49 | #20

    Jacking the NAR dues up 50% for this “Political Survival Initiative” and making it a mandatory contribution – is a big mistake – imho. If anything, make it voluntary so each member can decide independently if they want to support the PAC.
    I think it should be renamed to “Political Influence Squeeze” or PIS for short – because that’s what I think they’ll do with the extra cash. Just saying . . .

  21. Donald O’Brien
    March 31st, 2011 at 09:44 | #21

    This is not a good idea. If NAR wants to play politics, then they should establish a separate Political Action Committee and fund it entirely by donations- not mandated dues. If this passes I will no longer be a member.

  22. March 31st, 2011 at 09:16 | #22

    Though I understand the importance and value of this initiative, I feel NAR should budget for this under our current dues structure. These are not the times to add another $40 to the costs associated with being a Realtor®. With the decline in membership over the last couple of years, NAR should be able to restructure to reduce some of their costs in overhead to budget for new and exciting initiatives such as this.
    In addition, I know that it says “Two-thirds of the dollars raised would be returned back to state boards that have met their previous year’s RPAC fundraising goals, to be used in support of local candidates, issue campaigns, and other political advocacy efforts.” I would like to know how successful our state board has been in achieving previous years goals. I would rather a state program where 100% of my dollars were guaranteed to stay local.
    Thank you for this opportunity to present my comments.

  23. Deb
    March 31st, 2011 at 09:11 | #23

    Totally AGAINST this increase in fees! Our fees are ridiculous already and we get very little for it – in fact, proposals are often worked to at our peril (i.e. new agency disclosure) In a time where agents are making less and less, increasing the fees last year was a slap in the face, to do it again, even more so. NAR seems unaware of what the average agent is going through.

  24. March 31st, 2011 at 09:00 | #24

    It’s a tough one.

    At the heart of it. Yes.

    But as we all know, the economic times are hard and this comes as a pretty significant blow especially since state and local dues increased this year and quite possibly could increase next year again. That will mean that REALTOR dues will be over $500 approaching $600 in some cases. That will be hard for many.

    But as for me we have to protect our industry and need all the support we can muster.

    However, the impact is much the same as a tax increase. NAR will loose members which could result in a net negative amount to work with as a result. They should make it optional.

  25. March 31st, 2011 at 08:20 | #25

    Absolutely not! Political expenditures should be voluntary!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  26. Bob
    March 31st, 2011 at 08:19 | #26

    I do not agree with dedicated political contributions. It removes my independent choice and may put monies in campaigns I do not believe in.

  27. David Morin
    March 31st, 2011 at 08:16 | #27

    The last thing that this country needs is more lobbyists. Let’s stop the madness…

  28. March 31st, 2011 at 08:14 | #28

    I am not in favor of increasing our dues, either to National or NHAR. Not this year or next. Let’s wait until the buyers come back to the marketplace.

  29. Phil LaRoche
    March 31st, 2011 at 08:11 | #29

    Each year, I reluctantly give to RPAC. I am very politically active and complete understand Political Advocacy.

    I also shun the process as it is big government graft, in my opinion. The very fact that we need to spend millions on government access and campaign support strikes at the very principles of our government and the underpinnings of a free and democratic society.

    I urge you to continual with your advocacy efforts, but through the traditional, old fashioned, means without pumping money into congressmen’s coffers.

    I will continue to resist PAC dollars and our boards should also.

Comments are closed.