In 1969, as America’s political winds began to shift, forward-thinking members of the National Association of REALTORSÂ® (NAR) sought the ability to harness the political clout of what would become one of the largest trade associations in the country. From this, the Real Estate Political Education Committee (REPEC) was launched. Later, it would become the National Association of REALTORSÂ® Political Action Committee, or RPAC.
At its onset, RPAC had 300 investors contributing a total of $28,000. In 2018, more than 450,000 REALTORSÂ®â€”35 percent of the NAR’s membershipâ€”invested more than $34 million to support local, state and federal candidates and issues. This growth has been essential to NAR’s ability to shape the future of the real estate industry.
Political Action Committees, or PACs, afford like-minded people a regulated, transparent and accountable opportunity to collectively participate in the election process. PAC money must come from voluntary member contributions, rather than from member dues. Among the nation’s more than 4,000 PACs, RPAC is the only one that’s organized and run by REALTORSÂ® to support real estate advocacy priorities.
One of RPAC’s defining characteristics is its bipartisan support of candidates who advocate for homeownership and property investmentâ€”issues that transcend politics. In the 2018 election cycle, RPAC disbursed more than $5.2 million to federal candidates and national political committees, with 51 percent of contributions supporting Republicans and 49 percent supporting Democrats. RPAC had a 93 percent win rate for federal races.
Building the RPAC Culture
Like NAR, RPAC is member-driven, with hundreds of REALTORSÂ® at the federal, state and local levels serving on councils and committees across the country deciding which candidates and issues to support and working to raise RPAC dollars from their colleagues. This support and commitment has led to a history of success in RPAC’s first 50 years, including:
- Improving access to FHA loans so more Americans could buy their own homes
- Reducing capital gains taxes to make real estate a better investment
- Pushing for legislation to create the secondary commercial mortgage market
- Winning an eight-year battle to prevent banks from becoming real estate brokers
- Repeatedly defending the mortgage interest deduction
Throughout the years, RPAC has changed to adapt and stay relevant in light of events like the 2010 Supreme Court ruling in Citizens United, which affirmed the right of persons and entities to make independent expenditures unencumbered by contribution limits.
As an uncertain political environment continues in 2019, RPAC continues its work to advance the American Dream of property ownership. Working hand-in-hand with the REALTORÂ® Party, this partnership is what makes REALTORSÂ® a force to be reckoned with at the local, state and national levels.
2019: A Year of Celebration
NAR kicked off the celebration of RPAC’s 50th anniversary in late 2018 with a video competition for state and local REALTORÂ® associations. View the winning videos featured on the RPAC 50th anniversary website, and download logos, graphics and materials celebrating RPAC’s 50th anniversary, as well as shareable content for social media.
The hallmark event of RPAC’s 50th anniversary celebration will take place during the REALTORSÂ® Legislative Meetings & Trade Expo on Thursday, May 16 at the National Building Museum in Washington, D.C. This invitation-only event will be an opportunity to celebrate with RPAC supporters from across the country as we mark this historic milestone.