HomeLatest NewsFeatured HomebuildersHome Buyer ResourcesBinding ArbitrationResource LinksSubmit ComplaintsView ComplaintsTake Action 101!Report Mortgage FraudMortgage Fraud NewsForeclosure NewsConstruction DefectsHome DefectsPhoto GalleryFoundation ProblemsHomeowner Website LinksHOA Reform
Main Menu
Home
Latest News
Featured Homebuilders
Home Buyer Resources
Binding Arbitration
Resource Links
Submit Complaints
View Complaints
Take Action 101!
Report Mortgage Fraud
Mortgage Fraud News
Foreclosure News
Construction Defects
Home Defects
Photo Gallery
Foundation Problems
Homeowner Website Links
HOA Reform
Featured Topics
Builder Death Spiral
Report Mortgage Fraud
Foreclosure Special Report
Mold & New Home Guide
Special News Reports
Centex & Habitability
How Fast Can They Build Them?
TRCC Editorial
Texas TRCC Scandal
Texas Watch - Tell Lawmakers
TRCC Recommendations
Sandra Bullock
People's Lawyer
Prevent Nightmare Homes
Choice Homes
Smart Money
Weekly Update Message
News
Latest News
HOBB News
Editorials
New Jersey
New Jersey & Texas
Write Letters to the Editors
TRCC in the News
Texas TRCC Scandal
Survey
Fair Use Notice
HOBB Archives
About HOBB
Contact Us
Fair Use Notice
Legislative Work
Your House

 HOBB News Alerts
and Updates

Click Here to Subscribe

Support HOBB - Become a Sustaining Member
Who's Online
We have 1 guest online
ABC Special Report
Investigation: New Home Heartbreak
Trump - NAHB Homebuilders Shoddy Construction and Forced Arbitration
Wasshington Post: Home Builders (NAHB) Want Political Favors for PAC Contributions
Thursday, 14 February 2008

Home Builders Halt Campaign Funds After Setback
The National Association of Home Builders, one of the top 10 corporate donors to politicians, has stopped contributing to congressional candidates after it failed to get what it wanted in recent anti-recession legislation. "Lobbies like to pretend that congressional action and their donations aren't tied, " said Melanie Sloan of Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington. "But the home builders just confirmed that they are." Ethics lawyers routinely warn interest groups to avoid saying or implying that the money they provide to candidates compensates them for taking a position on a particular piece of legislation. Such quid pro quos could be considered illegal gratuities or bribes.  See Reader Comments...

Home Builders Halt Campaign Funds After Setback
 By Jeffrey H. BirnbaumWashington Post Staff Writer
Thursday, February 14, 2008; Page D01

The National Association of Home Builders, one of the top 10 corporate donors to politicians, has stopped contributing to congressional candidates after it failed to get what it wanted in recent anti-recession legislation.

The powerful lobby said Tuesday that it was taking the unprecedented action of halting its campaign-giving to protest Washington's failure to address "the underlying economic issues that would help to stabilize the housing sector and keep the economy moving forward." The group did not mention any specific initiatives.

The association had unsuccessfully pressed lawmakers to adopt a provision to reduce the tax liability of home builders by allowing them to offset their past profits with future losses. The lobby had also pushed to expand a program that allows states and localities to issue tax-exempt bonds that finance low-rate mortgages. Although both proposals were included in the economic stimulus package approved by the Senate Finance Committee late last month, neither was part of the final bill signed by President Bush yesterday.

Election experts said the lobby's move illustrated how closely interest groups tie their donations to the decisions they hope lawmakers will take on their behalf -- a connection that usually goes unspoken.

"This demonstrates in a starker fashion than we're used to seeing how groups use political contributions to promote their positions in Congress," said Kenneth A. Gross, a campaign finance lawyer at Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom.

The association's president, Brian Catalde, said in a statement that the group's political action committee, BUILD-PAC, had halted all disbursements to federal congressional candidates "until further notice." The statement added, "More needs to be done to jump-start housing and ensure the economy does not fall into a recession."

The association issued its statement soon after it praised the Bush administration for bringing six major lenders together for a program called Project Lifeline, which is designed to help prevent home foreclosures by giving some distressed owners a 30-day reprieve to work out alternatives.

"Lobbies like to pretend that congressional action and their donations aren't tied, " said Melanie Sloan of Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington. "But the home builders just confirmed that they are."

Ethics lawyers routinely warn interest groups to avoid saying or implying that the money they provide to candidates compensates them for taking a position on a particular piece of legislation. Such quid pro quos could be considered illegal gratuities or bribes.

The association's decision was the subject of ridicule among some veteran lobbyists and trade-group executives yesterday. One long-time association head said via e-mail that the home builders' statement showed the "political instincts of spoiled children." The e-mail continued: "One would think that a savvy staff would have kept them from something that will make them the laughing stock of Washington."

The home builders' statement avoids any reference to specific legislation. "I don't think there's any basis to say that there's a violation of law here," said Robert K. Kelner, a campaign finance attorney at Covington & Burling.

But lawmakers do not like to be reminded in public that lobbyists offer them money in hopes of receiving favorable treatment. "Many PACs use a carrot-and-a-stick approach," Gross said. "But just a stick can boomerang."

The home builders' announcement also explodes the oft-repeated assertion by politicians that lobbyists deal with them only at arm's length. "How many members of Congress have you heard say, 'People donate to me, but it has no effect at all'?" Sloan said. "What the home builders have done is expose the underbelly of the connection between money and politics."

Others cheered the association's choice. "This is what more industries should do," said Cleta Mitchell, an ethics lawyer at Foley & Lardner. "Stop supporting officeholders who don't support their views."

A spokesman for the association declined to elaborate on Catalde's written statement.

Home building has been one of the industries hardest hit by the recent economic slowdown. The credit crunch that began last year, prompted by the subprime mortgage mess, squeezed money available for new home purchases and reduced capital available for home building.

Last month, the Commerce Department reported that sales of new single-family houses nationwide dipped 4.7 percent in December from November. Sales in 2007 plummeted 26.4 percent from 2006, the biggest year-to-year drop since the agency began keeping track in 1963.

Even so, the National Association of Home Builders has remained a potent Washington lobby, and its political donations have been robust.

Its BUILD-PAC is the nation's 17th-largest political action committee as well as the seventh-largest corporate PAC, according to the nonpartisan Center for Responsive Politics. In the current election cycle, BUILD-PAC has collected more than $2 million and dispensed $1.5 million to candidates, 55 percent to Republicans and 45 percent to Democrats.

It still has $826,669 available to spend.

 

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2008/02/13/AR2008021303699.html?nav=rss_business

 

 
< Prev   Next >
Search HOBB.org

Reckless Endangerment
BY: GRETCHEN MORGENSON
and JOSHUA ROSNER

Outsized Ambition, Greed and
Corruption Led to
Economic Armageddon


Amazon
Barnes & Noble

 Feature
Rise and Fall of Predatory Lending and Housing

NY Times: Building Flawed American Dreams 
Read CATO Institute: 
HUD Scandals

Listen to NPR:
Reckless Endangerman
by
Gretchen Morgenson : How 'Reckless' Greed Contributed
to Financial Crisis - Fannie Mae

NPR Special Report
Part I Listen Now
Perry Home - No Warranty 
Part II Listen Now
Texas Favors Builders

Washington Post
The housing bubble, in four chapters
BusinessWeek Special Reports
Bonfire of the Builders
Homebuilders helped fuel the housing crisis
Housing: That Sinking Feeling

Texas Regulates Homebuyers
 
Texas Comptroller Condemns TRCC Builder Protection Agency
TRCC is the punishment phase of homeownership in Texas

HOBB Update Messages

Consumer Affairs Builder Complaints

IS YOUR STATE NEXT?
As Goes Texas So Goes the Nation
Knowledge and Financial Responsibility are still Optional for Texas Home Builders

OUTSTANDING FOX4 REPORT
TRCC from Bad to Worse
Case of the Crooked House

TRCC AN ARRESTING EXPERIENCE
The Pat and Bob Egert Building & TRCC Experience 

Builders Looking for Federal Handouts

Build it right the first time
An interview with Janet Ahmad

Bad Binding Arbitration Experience?
This e-mail address is being protected from spam bots, you need JavaScript enabled to view it
or call 1-210-402-6800

Drum Major Institute
for Public Policy

Tort Deform
Report Your Arbitration Experience

Homebuilding Texas Style
And the walls came
tumblin' down

 Texas Homebuilder
Bob Perry Political Contributions

  The Agency Bob Perry Built
 TRCC Connection News
Tort Reform

NPR Interview - Perry's
Political influence movement.
Click to listen 

REWARD
MOST WANTED

ARIZONA REGISTRAR OF CONTRACTORS
Have you seen any of these individuals

 Feature: Mother Jones Magazine
Are you Next?
People Magazine - Jordan Fogal fights back
Because of construction defects Jordanís Tremont Home is uninhabitable
http://www.tremonthomehorrors.com/
You could be the next victim
Interview with Award Winning Author Jordan Fogal

Special Money Report
Big Money and Shoddy Construction:Texas Home Buyers Left Out in the Cold
Read More
Read Report: Big Money…
Home Builder Money Source of Influence

Letters to the Editor
Write your letters to the Editor

Homeowner Websites

top of page

© 2017 HomeOwners for Better Building
Joomla! is Free Software released under the GNU/GPL License.