At Clareity Consulting’s 2015 MLS Executive Workshop we were honored to receive a special update from Marbury Little (Corporate Investor Chair), Jamie Gregory (Deputy Chief Lobbyist), and Tom Salomone (NAR President Elect). The focus of the update was the lobbying work that NAR had been undertaking on our behalf, and discuss the REALTOR® Party Corporate Ally Program.
Many MLS organizations, software vendors and others in our industry might think that RPAC is a program just for REALTOR® Associations and their members – but that’s just not true. In fact, it’s a business investment in our collective future.
The Citizens United Supreme Court decision opened the floodgates for the unlimited use of soft money to influence elections. NAR needs soft dollars from corporate allies like us more than ever. But RPAC is not just about “politics”! When the 114th Congress began in January, NAR and RPAC immediately started working on technology issues that affect us all. Topics included:
- Network Neutrality
- Patent Litigation Reform
- Privacy & Data Security
- Big Data
- Internet of Things
- Copyright Reform
While NAR has lobbied successfully for Network Neutrality and the FCC has issued an “Open Internet Order” that prohibits blocking, throttling or paid prioritization (fast lanes), a congressional response is still possible. So, that fight isn’t over, and NAR needs our help.
Our industry continues to be affected by patent trolls. While NAR and REDPLAN can help members when the trolls come knocking on our doors, NAR needs our money to help work on patent litigation reform. NAR has become involved with many other excellent organizations in the “United for Patent Reform Coalition” and helped influence the Innovation Act (H.R. 9) introduced February 5, 2015 and also testified in House Commerce committee on abusive demand letters. That fight is a long way from over.
Privacy and data security are perennial issues as data breaches continue, and the patchwork of state laws in those areas make it very difficult for companies to comply with all the required best practices and to respond properly when a breach occurs. The industry seeks a federal standard, and your help is needed to support that advocacy.
Copyright reform is an area near and dear to MLS hearts and the issue is still not on the front burner with the federal government. NAR’s goals are to improve the DMCA notice and takedown system and to institute damages for large-scale online infringement.
NAR and the REALTOR® Party, as part of the Corporate Ally Program, are asking us to help with these important efforts. They are not asking for a “contribution” or “donation”, rather they are asking us to invest in their efforts to ensure that the political representatives that best support our interests are elected, and that they can continue to advocate in other ways including, but not limited to, providing testimony on key issues.
From MLSs, NAR is asking for at least $1 per subscriber per year, or $5000, whichever is greater, beginning in 2015 ($2 per subscriber per election cycle). They also wish this to be ongoing support, built into your budget.
They did not name a specific amount for other corporate partners such as software companies and consultants, but Clareity pledged $10,000 to RPAC during our MLS Executive Workshop meeting to help kick off the donation process, and we asked everyone at the Workshop to take the pledge forms provided by NAR back to their organization.
Please visit the website and download the pledge form now, and join us in supporting NAR and the REALTOR® Party as part of the Corporate Ally Program. It’s an important investment in our future.
Gregg Larson and Matt Cohen
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