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Realtors threaten boycott of Wisconsin Realtors Association

At current count, 101 Realtors have assembled to create what appears could be a fledgling political action committee (PAC) or special interest group in the early stages of formation. The group is acting as a counter group, citing Wisconsin Realtor Association’s (WRA) support of Wisconsin Governor Walker in December, as well as WRA’s support of Wisconsin State Supreme Court Justice David Prosser in March.

According to their website,, the angry Realtors believe “We should shift away from candidate support to endorsing policy instead.”  The anti-Walker bunch have also resorted to threats in their call for action. On March 26, 2011, Admin[1] said on the site, “The WRA can avoid potential boycott actions like those taken against M&I bank by retracting their support of the Walker administration, and this current budget.”

Similar threats

Since the passage of the controversial bill limiting collective bargaining in the State of Wisconsin, there have been many threats just like these in cases where unions have allegedly threatened small business owners demanding they show support for unions and state workers by posting signs in their windows.

Real Estate Professionals for a Better Wisconsin

The self-proclaimed “progressive” Wisconsin group has named itself “Real Estate Professionals for a Better Wisconsin (REPBW),” representative of the minority electorate opposing Governor Walker. Walker was unanimously supported by the WRA board and WRA committees that decide endorsements of political platforms and their candidates, thus REPBW’s 101 members were not representative of the electorate at large.

WRA is Governor Walker’s third largest contributor, giving $43,125 dollars and the real estate industry as a whole represents his third largest industry contributor, giving over $341,000. Prior to being appointed to the Wisconsin court, Justice Prosser’s Congressional campaign’s top contributor from 1995 to 1998 when he was appointed to the court was the National Association of Realtors. It is unclear as to whether or not REPBW will threaten any other real estate entity that contributed to Walker’s or Prosser’s political coffers.

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These fringe members are positioning the timeless tradition of Realtor PAC money at local, state and national levels as a Code of Ethics violation. RE/MAX Realtor David Kindschi said on the site in response to WRA support of Republican Governor Scott Walker, “as an Association we have chosen to violate our code of conduct and ethics, by not only choosing sides in political endorsements, but implying to the whole state that every Realtor is participating in this Political Indorsement [sic]. This is dishonest, unprofessional, and an insult to many of us in this organization.”

Two days prior to this statement, the site published an anti-Walker open letter, implying political endorsement of the anti-Walker voters.

Our sources note that WRA dues going toward politics are voluntary and that under 40% of members currently pay them. It appears that the organization is standing up against the budget issue, but the blog entries use wording that imply the fledgling group is against Republicans overall and don’t believe their Association should contribute to individual campaigns.

REPBW membership growing?

REPBW has no disclaimers on their site confirming or denying any PAC money, soft money, or individual financial support they may have solicited or may be receiving, nor affiliations to any parties, nor non-profit status, nor any other affiliations, and have not disclaimed what status (PAC, 501c4 or otherwise) they may be currently seeking for their .org website.

However, REPBW consists of Realtors campaigning for the site that are licensed with large franchises such as Keller Williams, RE/MAX, Century21, Prudential and others, and without any legitimate disclaimers, this could present problems.

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Although the organization is making waves in the form of noise, REPBW membership remains low with little growth, currently representing only 0.007% of the state’s licensed Realtors.

Calling for a boycott of 13,435 Realtors

What is confusing is the very thing they espouse to despise, they may themselves be guilty of. Their support of a political issue in one direction is fair, but a lack of support for a Supreme Court Justice over that issue as well as calling for a possible boycott of WRA (which is made up of 13,435 active Realtors with livelihoods and businesses) if they do not withdraw their December 2010 support of Walker sounds a lot like political bully tactics to drum up support for an opposing candidate to Governor Walker’s agenda in the future, thus appearing inherently political.

This issue comes on the heels of the announcement you heard on AGBeat first of the Realtor Party Political Survival Initiate (RPPSI) which if approved on May 14 will increase member dues by 50 percent. Realtors and Associations alike are still on the fence about how they feel about this issue, one local association executive cites dropping dues by $30 to help Realtors in a small rural economy only to have National dues double in order to support the political agenda of the Association of Realtors at large, which includes individual campaigns.

[1] “Admin” – the name used as the creator of the talking points. The domain owner is Michelle Yoo / Restaino & Associates Realtors

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Benn Rosales is the Founder and CEO of The American Genius (AG), national news network. Before AG, he founded one of the first digital media strategy firms in the nation has received the Statesman Texas Social Media Award and is an Inman Innovator Award winner. He has consulted for numerous startups (both early- and late-stage), and is well known for organizing the digital community through popular offline events. He does not venture into the spotlight often, rather he believes his biggest accomplishments are the talent he recruits and develops, so he gives all credit to those he's empowered.



  1. Kevin "Troll" Tomlinson

    April 15, 2011 at 1:55 am

    You always write the stuff that you really have to read. This makes my hair hurt.

  2. Amy Sherman-Kortbein

    April 15, 2011 at 10:18 am

    As a member of I find your description of our organization hilarious. You might consider contacting someone in the group instead of taking out of context comments from the blog. We do not intend to "boycott the WRA". And we have democrats, republicans and independents in our group. While the WRA board may have all voted to support Walker, only 52% of the state did and his approval ratings are well below that now. Please do a little research.

  3. Jeff Brown

    April 15, 2011 at 11:58 am

    Regardless of the current level of 'to-do' in the Wisconsin political arena these days, this one, to me anyway, ranks almost, but not quite, as one of those stories at the end of the 11 o'clock news. You know the one, "…and finally, a few folks in the WRA have decided to make their views public by…"

    It's part of the system. I have no idea if what they're doing is blessed by the Realtors Code of Ethics are not. I think the bigger question might just be, who cares about what they think? Frankly, and I preface this statement by saying I respect their political views whether I agree with them or not — I'd hafta climb up three rungs on the 'I care' ladder to be apathetic about these guys.

  4. Erion Shehaj

    April 15, 2011 at 12:05 pm

    Despite all the apparent drama, it seems to me the basic issue at hand here is whether or not a professional organization should endorse individuals vs. policy. But on the other hand, I don't see how you can separate the two as it is individuals who push policy. Would this organization "feel better" if the board supported Walker policies but not Walker himself?

    Members who disagree with a boards policy (and they exist in every board), even if in the minority, have every right to make their voices heard by organizing. If they went so far as to ask for a boycott, I think that goes too far.

  5. Missy Caulk

    April 15, 2011 at 12:32 pm

    If WRA is run like most boards the Governmental Affairs Committee interviews or invites to be interviewed all the candidates running for ALL offices.They then make a recommendation to the Board of Directors and the Board ratifies or not the candidates interviewed. It would be interesting to see how many of of the group serve on these or any committees.

    40% of their membership paid the Voluntary RPAC dues,wonder how many of those supported RPACII?

    This has been my long time tradition as I don't want to support many of the candidates that my local association endorses, yet I do support the "issues" that need to be supported for our industry and the Realtors that work in it.

    Scott Walker is faced with many deficits,justlike many other states. They elected him to cut spending. The issue has never been about not supporting teachers or respecting what they do. Heck, I'm married to a High School Teacher. But, it is about sustaining our future for our kids and grand kids.

    They need to give him a chance like we are doing in Mi with Gov Rick Snyder.It will take time, and yet already here in 16 weeks people are calling for a re-call. Plezzzzzzz.

    Interesting story in light of the NAR's recent push for a Political Party.

  6. Steve Scott

    April 15, 2011 at 1:47 pm

    It's an interesting dichotomy, to protest the support of a political ideology by developing another 'association' for the purpose of supporting the opposing party. I also find it interesting that our associations such as the National Association of Realtors and the Wisconsin Association of Realtors would support candidates that are opposed to collective bargaining which is basically what our associations do. There should be more clear guidelines within our associations as to how the Membership would like our dues to be distributed to candidates. Although the leadership is elected, like our government they should represent all of the members not just who the leadership wants to support.

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