Real Estate

Airbnb Will Halt Donations To Election Objectors

The moves come as a number of major companies say they are suspending political campaign contributions through PACs.

Airbnb will end political donations to the campaigns of candidates who voted against the certification of the election results even after a mob of violent supporters of President Donald Trump broke into the Capitol building, the company announced Monday.

“Airbnb strongly condemns last week’s attack on the US Capitol and the efforts to undermine our democratic process,” the company said in a statement. “We will continue to uphold our community policies by banning violent hate group members when we learn of such memberships, and the Airbnb PAC will update its framework and withhold support from those who voted against the certification of the presidential election results.”

Through its political action committee (PAC), Airbnb donated to the campaigns of three Congressional Republicans who voted against the election certification for the 2020 election cycle. It also donated $2,000 to the campaign of Florida Senator Rick Scott, one of eight Republican Senators who voted against the election certification.

Jay Farner | Photo credit: Rocket Companies

The move comes as other major companies are reevaluating the criteria by which they determine to donate to candidates, including Rocket Mortgage.

In a statement, Jay Farner, the CEO of Rocket Mortgage, said he and his company were “truly appalled and disheartened by the actions that took place at the U.S. Capitol,” which he called a desecration of one of the most recognizable symbols of the Republic.

Farner committed to giving $750,000 to the presidential inaugural committee, for President-Elect Joe Biden and temporarily suspending all campaign contributions. The company had previously donated to a handful of election objectors through its PAC.

“Beyond the inauguration, our company will be suspending all political giving as we contemplate the role corporations play in the political process,” Farner said in a statement. “We all have a shared responsibility to work toward the ultimate goal of a better nation. At Rocket Mortgage and the Rocket Community Fund, we have a mission of supporting communities through investments in housing, employment, and public life.”

In a statement Monday, American Express CEO Stephen Squeri vowed that it would no longer support candidates through its PAC who voted against the certification of the election.

“Last week’s attempts by some congressional members to subvert the presidential election results and disrupt the peaceful transition of power do not align with our American Express Blue Box values; therefore, the AXP PAC will not support them,” Squeri said in a statement.

Goldman Sachs, Citigroup, JP Morgan and Marriott are all pausing campaign donations, according to reporting by Popular Information.

The real estate industry, however, has been largely absent from the conversation. The National Association of Realtors PAC (RPAC) handed out more than $1.2 million to candidates who voted against the certification, the third most of any PAC, according to campaign contribution watchdog the Center For Responsible Politics.

The only organizations that have given more to those candidates are The American Bankers Association and the party’s own House Majority PAC.

Last week, when asked about those donations, the association confirmed to Inman that it would not make any changes to how it donates to candidates.

“All RPAC Federal Disbursement decisions are made in accordance with requests from state associations and approved by state trustees,” a spokesperson for NAR said in a statement. “Decisions regarding our involvement in the 2022 federal elections will be made by following the same procedures and considering a multitude of factors impacting our nation and its real estate sector.”

In a statement to Inman last week, the National Multifamily Housing Council committed to undertaking a thorough review of its campaign contributions and pausing campaign contributions.

Realogy, last week, declined to comment on if it would withhold campaign contributions from these elected officials, a handful of which it has donated to in the past.

The Mortgage Bankers Association also did not respond to a request for comment on whether or not it would donate to the elected officials who voted against the certification of the election.

Many Democratic lawmakers have specifically pointed to the vote against the certification of the election as one of the reasons for the assault by the violent mob on the U.S. Capitol, which led to the deaths of five individuals. 

Newly elected Congresswoman Cori Bush has introduced legislation to remove every single Republican lawmaker involved with the “coup.” 

Email Patrick Kearns

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