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NAR and NAHB spending on Capitol Hill compared to Google and Facebook

Google and Facebook lobby spending on the rise

Over the years, Google has gained substantial attention because of their close ties with the American government and Facebook has gotten quite cozy with the current administration, even playing host to a town hall meeting with President Obama earlier this year.

Now, the two companies are making headlines for their increased spending on lobbying. In the second quarter of 2011, for the first time, Google’s spending on lobbying was higher than Microsoft’s, and the two companies have just broken their own quarterly lobbying spend records.

Google’s lobbying spend for Q2 2011 was $2.06 million, up 54% over the past year, while Facebook’s lobbying spend was $320,000, nearly matching their entire lobbying effort for 2010.

Comparing Google and Facebook to real estate spending

When we heard these numbers and read opinion columns opining about the large amounts of money the two companies are spending and the feigned outrage is interesting to us.

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Our immediate thought was “why the outrage over two million dollars, haven’t these people ever heard of real estate lobbying?” We analyzed real estate spending back in 2010 and many people were shocked at how many industry dollars go toward Capitol Hill.

Comparing spending on Capitol Hill

Take a look at this comparison chart to see if you believe Google and Facebook’s spending is outrageous, and take special note that for the recent year, not all numbers have been reported which is why we included 2009-2010 to give you an idea of an annual spend. We separated out contributions from lobbyist spending, because many Realtors think that all political spends coming from their trade association are for political offices, but the spend by NAR on lobbyists is one of the largest in the entire nation (take special note of the second line of this chart).

Not only are political contributions and spending on lobbyists dramatically higher in the real estate industry compared to technology as demonstrated above, contributions are spread more evenly between state and federal contributions in real estate. Support for Democrats and Republicans varies widely, even within leaders in each sector and NAR appears to be the most fair, indicating that it is often an office that is supported rather than the idea of an individual.

What do you think of the political contributions and money spent on lobbyists in each sector and even within the real estate industry? Tell us in comments your thoughts.

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Lani is the COO and News Director at The American Genius, has co-authored a book, co-founded BASHH, Austin Digital Jobs, Remote Digital Jobs, and is a seasoned business writer and editorialist with a penchant for the irreverent.



  1. Sig

    July 22, 2011 at 5:40 am

    It seems Google and Facebook spend very little and get more bang for their buck than NAR. NAR is more of a Republican fundraiser than anything else. We say we are the "REALTOR Party" but I have failed to see any evidence of that. After all of the money we spend we get very little for our dollar. It's like throwing money at a problem without any real strategy. I'm not one who stands on the outside looking in and complaining, I'm one who's been on the inside and seen the dirty truth up close and personal. I don't know who is getting the benefits of our dollars and efforts but it's not the membership who sells real estate on the street day after day. This year NAR has doubled the dues and expect to collect $40,000,000 next year for their political purposes. It would be interesting to be able to follow the money in the future to see whose hands this money is grabbed by, but sadly, that will never happen.

    • walidmrealtor

      July 22, 2011 at 10:27 am

      At least I don't need to worry about filling out the action committee emails anymore…$40M ~jeez

  2. Steve Nicewarner

    July 22, 2011 at 10:27 am

    This is somewhat like comparing apples to oranges. What Google and Facebook really offer politicians in access. NAR can't do the same until they figure out a way to buy houses for Senators.

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