Feb 29, 2008
RPAC: REALTOR® Voice or Political Bribery? (NVRPAC too)
29 Feb 2008
Posted by VAR
Bringing backroom discussions to the forefront appears to be part of the mission for VARBuzz.com , so I thank them for this opportunity!
Back to the post… I’m torn.
Give to NVRPAC and Virginia RPAC or not?
I’d like to discuss my understanding of what NVRPAC is (I could be wrong and I’m looking to your comments to correct me), and my dilemma on whether to contribute (which is not tax deductible).
NV/RPAC stands for Northern Virginia REALTOR® Political Action Committee. Their slogan is “Your bi-partisan voice in politics.” What else? I don’t know. A search for them brings up only 3 pages (here is one). They don’t own NVRPAC.com and they don’t have an interactive blog giving us updates on what they are doing. It has been run by Mary Beth Coya, the Vice President of Public & Government Affairs for many years.
I still don’t get it. To me it seems like “Give us money, don’t ask why, but we will push the REALTOR agenda. Thanks for the $200,000, now we can give that to candidates so they will listen to us.”
Is giving money to candidates a necessary evil?
So here is where the dilemma starts.
- I frequently disagree with the REALTOR agenda. For example, recently a transportation bill, which would raise taxes (backed by NVRPAC), was shot down as being unconstitutional. If my political belief is that government is too big, and we need less taxes, how do I justify giving them $100 to back something I am against?
- I also disagree with the message the REALTOR® associations put out, like the “It’s a great time to buy or sell a home” campaign. Yet two years later we are flooded with Short Sales and foreclosures.
- And here is the big picture issue that I have… Where exactly does the money go?The weblink above says, “Contributions go to candidates who are supportive of private property rights and who are sensitive to the REALTOR® point-of-view on key issues.”
Is it to help candidates win, or is it to buy a voice?
Do we give even $1 to a candidate that is ahead 30% in the polls? If so, it doesn’t seem like we are helping him win, instead it seems like we are buying the right to be heard.
One can easily say, “That is how it works in DC, either play ball or lose.”
But I am fundamentally against a Congressperson accepting $100,000 from a special interest group, that they are expected to regulate.
Yes we want our voices heard, but why do we have to give them $100,000 for that right? It seems more like a bribe. (Update 3-3-08: See comments for clarification on this number. Most donations are much smaller, but they have been as high as $50,000 for one candidate in one year and over $80,000 for a few candidates over a few years)
Maybe that is the process in DC, but what if you oppose the process?
So this is my personal debate. I’d love to see your opinion. And if you still want to donate, here is a link to contribute to NVRPAC online. Actually they only accept contributions by mail or fax or check. Cutting edge!
The hope is that this post will INCREASE contributions if that is what the REALTOR wants. I’d rather them contribute because they understand and accept the process, and not because they are told to, or are offered a raffle or a trip to Jamaica.
And here is a video on Youtube from Virginia’s RPAC.
I look forward to the discussion. I hope we all agree that discussing this is the best way to understanding it.
- Written by Frank Borges LL0SA- Broker FranklyRealty.com
Update 3-3-08: P.S. The comments are better than the post. Don’t miss them!