At the Association Executive Institute held in Dallas last month, the National Association of REALTORS® (NAR) announced a proposal to increase NAR dues by $40 per year to fund the REALTOR® Party Political Survival Initiative.  What exactly is that?

Citizens United
Early last year, the U.S. Supreme Court issued a decision in Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission. That court opinion allowed corporate funds and/or membership dues to be used for political purposes. Previously, only voluntary contributions specifically dedicated for political advocacy efforts were allowed.

The predicted result from this new funding ability is that corporate contributions in support of issues and candidates will increase substantially. NAR’s response? The REALTOR® Party Political Survival Initiative.

NAR has the following to say about the rationale for the proposal:
The Citizens United court case 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.  It is a game changer of gigantic proportions.

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.

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

The REALTOR® Party Political Survival Initiative did not just happen overnight. It was the result of nearly a year of careful study and consideration.

What does the REALTOR® Party Political Survival Initiative mean for members?
The proposal is for a dedicated dues increase of $40.00. The increase would take effect in the 2012 budget year.

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

In the past, NAR has already contributed funds to this initiative out of its operating budget, but to undertake the initiative at this level and give it a best chance for success, greater additional funding is needed.

If this dues increase is approved, more than 50% of the 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?
The most powerful benefit is it will keep the REALTOR® organization as one of the most influential advocacy groups in America.

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.

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

Most importantly, these dollars will be available to state associations and local boards. Two-thirds 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.

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

Source: National Association of REALTORS®