Real Estate

Real Estate Leaders Speak Out Against ‘Mob’ — But Won’t Rule Out Campaign Contributions For Election Objectors

As violence unfolded, real estate leaders and trade groups issued strongly worded statements decrying the violence. They are not, however, committing to no longer donating money to the campaigns of lawmakers who voted against certification.

Hours after a mob of President Donald Trump’s supporters broke into the Capitol building and rioted while lawmakers attempted to certify the results of the election, dozens of Republicans still insisted on voting against certification.

Democratic lawmakers have pointed the finger directly at those lawmakers as being responsible, in part for what took place Wednesday. Senator Chris Coons, a close ally of President-elect Joe Biden has called on Senators Ted Cruz and Josh Hawley to resign, according to a Politico report. 

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

As the violence unfolded, real estate leaders and trade groups issued strongly-worded statements, decrying the violence. They are not, however, committing to no longer donating money to the campaigns of the lawmakers who voted against certification.

Charle Oppler | Photo credit: NAR

The National Association of Realtors (NAR), through its president Charlie Oppler, took a stand against the violence. The group, did not, however, commit to withhold donations from any of the individuals that voted against certification.

Realtor PAC donated to the campaigns of seven of the eight Senators that voted against certification, disbursing $23,500 of Realtor donations to these candidates, according to the Center for Responsive Politics.

“All RPAC Federal Disbursement decisions are made in accordance with requests from state associations and approved by state trustees,” a spokesperson for the trade group told Inman. “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.”

There is some precedent for NAR changing its campaign contribution policies based on a political stance. In 2018, NAR dropped former Congressman Dana Rohrabacher, a Republican from Orange County, California, from its President’s Circle donation program, over his anti-LGBTQ stances.

Realogy’s PAC donated to multiple Congressional candidates who voted against certification during the last cycle and declined to comment on whether it would donate to those candidates again.

The company’s CEO, in an email to agents and employees Wednesday wrote, “violence and lawlessness have no place in our democratic process.”

The National Multifamily Housing Council was one of the few associations to call on lawmakers specifically to “live up to their oaths and certify the results of the 2020 election as soon as they can safely do so,” directly following the violence. NMHC, in a statement to Inman, committed to undertaking a thorough review of campaign contributions.

“The events at the Capitol yesterday were deeply disturbing and, as we noted in our statement, lawmakers have a responsibility to live up to their oaths and protect our system of government,” a spokesperson for NMHC said in a statement. “In light of those events, NMHC has paused PAC disbursements and we will undertake a thorough review of our strategy for the 117th Congress.”

Zillow CEO Rich Barton also pointed the blame at individuals he called “enablers” in a post on Twitter, during the afternoon Wednesday.

Zillow’s PAC did not donate to any of the candidates that voted against certification for the recent election cycle — and a source close to the company told Inman that its employee-led steering committee regularly reviews its PAC criteria. Zillow was one of dozens of companies to sign a letter calling for a peaceful transfer of power. 

“We were alarmed and saddened by the attack on our nation’s Capitol this week,” a spokesperson for Zillow told Inman in a statement. “Our PAC was formed to support policymakers and candidates who support our shared goals of a vibrant housing market where everyone has the opportunity to find and live in a home they love.”

Rock Holdings, the parent company of Rocket Mortgage, did not issue any statement and did not respond to a request for comment when asked about campaign contributions from a company PAC. Records show Rock Holdings PAC donated to a number of congressional Republicans that opposed certification and was backing Republican candidates in Georgia’s Senate election, who had been campaigning on opposing certification.

In a statement Wednesday, Mortgage Bankers Association (MBA) President and CEO Bob Broeksmit condemned the “vicious, lawless mob that descended on the U.S. Capitol.”

The MBA, which also donated to a handful of candidates who went on to oppose certification, also did not respond to a request for comment on its future plans for campaign contributions.

Email Patrick Kearns

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