Big banks and major corporations are rethinking their political donations in the wake of last week’s violence in Washington — a decision the real estate industry must now confront.
According to OpenSecrets.org, which is affiliated with the nonprofit Center for Responsive Politics, the industry is among the largest donors to the members of Congress who contested President-elect Joe Biden’s Electoral College win last week.
All told, the real estate industry donated over $16.3 million to members of Congress who contested the election results— which some critics have dubbed the “sedition caucus.” Only two other categories — “retired” and “Republican/conservative” donors gave more.
The National Association of Realtors was among the top contributors. The trade association’s political action committee, Realtor PAC, funneled $1.27 million into the campaigns of legislators who voted to overturn the results.
The group’s contributions to individual objectors were typically for $16,000 or less. They included $10,000 to Sen. Cindy Hyde-Smith of Mississippi, $5,000 to Sen. Roger Marshall of Kansas and $1,000 each to Sen. Josh Hawley of Missouri, Sen. John Kennedy of Louisiana and Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas.
In total, Realtor PAC donated about $1.7 million to Republican candidates in the 2019-2020 election cycle and about $1.88 million to Democrats.
While the trade association did not announce any change to its stance on political contributions in the wake of Wednesday’s unrest, it did say it would “closely monitor events in Washington” before President-elect Joe Biden’s Jan. 20 inauguration.
In a statement, a spokesperson for NAR said its donations “are made in accordance with requests from state associations and approved by state trustees.”
“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,” the statement continued.
Other top industry contributors to the legislators who challenged the Electoral College results include the National Association of Home Builders, which put $679,500 into their campaigns.
Among the industry players who have given generously to Republican lawmakers, some — including Blackstone’s Stephen Schwarzman, a prolific Trump campaign contributor — swiftly condemned the violence at the Capitol and Trump’s role in inciting it.
“The insurrection that followed the president’s remarks [Wednesday] is appalling and an affront to the democratic values we hold dear as Americans,” Schwarzman said in a statement. “I am shocked and horrified by this mob’s attempt to undermine our Constitution. As I said in November, the outcome of the election is very clear and there must be a peaceful transition of power.”
[OpenSecrets] — Amy Plitt