National Association of Realtors president Kenny Parcell’s resignation prompts closer inspection into the Super PAC

Rent’s Too High

National Association of Realtors president Kenny Parcell’s resignation prompts closer inspection into the Super PAC

The National Association of Realtors is one of the most powerful Super PACs in Washington D.C. Pictured here is its office building at 500 New Jersey Avenue N.W. (010110010101101/Shutterstock)

The National Association of Realtors (NAR) is a Super PAC based in Chicago with its own office building in Washington D.C. Two days ago, its president Kenny Parcell resigned amid sexual harassment charges from former staffers. Yesterday, CNN reported that Tracey Kasper will replace Parcell as NAR president and complete his one-year term that began in January 2023.

As NAR president Parcell lobbied against rent control as rent inflation spiked during the pandemic. He also voted against the eviction moratorium U.S. Congress approved in 2020 at the start of COVID. Before stepping down as president, Parcell at NAR supported repealing the 30-day eviction rule, a law that protected renters from eviction at a day’s notice. NAR also seeks to undo the Federal Housing Authority’s “anti-flipping law” passed in the 2000s by the Bush administration that sought to protect low-income communities from predatory developers. It’s also tried reversing provisions from the 1968 Housing Act meant to combat discrimination known as “disparate impact.

In 2021, the U.S. Supreme Court lifted the eviction moratorium thanks in large part to NAR. When the moratorium ended, NAR said “This decision is the correct one, from both a legal standpoint and a matter of fairness. It brings to an end an unlawful policy that places financial hardship solely on the shoulders of mom-and-pop housing providers, who provide nearly half of all rental housing in America, and it restores property rights in America.”

Richard Nixon at a National Association of Realtors convention in 1973. (Oliver F. Atkins/Wikimedia Commons/ Public Domain)

Like any other lobby, the amount of spending NAR pumps into Congress is commensurate with the amount of bills that get passed it vies for. In recent years, the country’s largest trade association with over 1.5 million members and $1 billion in assets has gained a tighter grip on the levers of power in Capital Hill. A report earlier this year by Statista revealed that the National Association of Realtors outspent every other Super PAC in the U.S. in 2022; spending $84.11 million on lobbying politicians.

As the cost of living in cities throughout the U.S. continues to soar, NAR has effectively doubled-down on its anti-rent control policy. On its website, NAR stated “The social responsibility of providing affordable housing should not be disproportionately borne by private property owners” and that “Rent control and rent stabilization put unreasonable costs and burdens upon property owners without compensation.”

In 2019, Donald Trump addressed NAR’s Legislative Meetings and Trade Expo which invited 2,000 realtors to Capital Hill inside the White House. In 2022, NAR helped back Substitute House Bill 430 which stymied housing activists from capping rents in Columbus, Ohio. NAR’s Ohio chapter donated $43,000 to Ohio Governor Mike DeWine before that bill went into effect. Meanwhile in Pasadena, California, as tenants groups are trying to pass Measure H to legalize rent control NAR has donated $100,000 to stop that from happening. Last May, the Biden administration called for a Homeowner and Renter Bill of Rights which would bestow upon renters basic protections from abusive landlords; a measure NAR opposes. And the list goes on.

To date, NAR has already raised more than $80 million for this upcoming election cycle.