With A Housing Crisis Gripping The State, Courage Campaign Launches New Campaign To Call Out Political Cash that has Historically Blocked Tenant Protections

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
May 17, 2019
Contact: 
Brett Abrams | brett@unbendablemedia.com

New Campaign Highlights State Legislators’ Gifts from Landlord & Real Estate Lobbyists in Anticipation of Their Votes on Two Major Housing Bills 

CALIFORNIA - Today, Courage Campaign, a leading progressive advocacy organization in California, launched the Renter Relief Project, a new campaign to call out the oversized influence corporate landlord and real estate lobbyists have in the capital. 

The campaign, which is launching right as the legislature begins debate on the Keep Families Home bill package -- which includes Just Cause Eviction as well as Anti-Rent Gouging legislation -- will highlight the link between campaign contributions and voting decisions to oppose bills that protect tenants.  

At the campaign website, RenterReliefProject.com, voters will be able to clearly see how these lobbyists are influencing votes, and hurting renters and tenants. The website calls out state legislators for the gifts they’ve received from landlord and real estate lobbyists and, in conjunction, notes how they are planning to vote on AB 1481 and AB 1482 on the Assembly floor next week.

Courage Campaign will be supporting the website with a five figure digital ad buy campaign to educate constituents in legislators’ home districts and encourage them to contact their representatives. 

SEE RENTER RELIEF PROJECT WEBSITE HERE: RenterReliefProject.com 

The website will also include: 

  • The percentage of renters in the district.
  • The percentage of renters in the district that are rent burdened, which is paying over 30% of their income in rent. Currently, over half of California’s renters are rent-burdened.
  • How the legislator voted on AB 2925, the 2018 Just Cause bill when it went to the assembly floor.
  • How much money/campaign contributions identified coming from the California Association of Realtors and the California Apartment Association in 2017-2018. 

Assemblymember Jim Cooper, for example, represents a district where over half of renters pay more than 30% of their incomes in rent. Cooper took $77,258 in contributions from the Real Estate lobby in the 2017-18 election cycle, and voted against Just Cause for Evictions (AB 2925) in 2018. He plans to vote “no” on tenant protections again this year.

“As our housing crisis grows worse by the day, renters have been shocked by the Legislature’s failure to protect California’s 17 million tenants who have faced eviction and massive rent increases for years. The truth -- well known inside the Capitol -- is that campaign cash has played a decisive role in these debates. Corporate developers rig the rules to jack up rents and build only for the wealthy, meanwhile, corporate landlord lobbyists make it impossible for those who are not wealthy to afford a place to live,” said Eddie Kurtz, Executive Director of Courage Campaign. “Sunlight is the best disinfectant, and with RenterReliefProject.com, Courage Campaign is shining a light on this toxic situation. 

“The fate of the Keep Families Home bill package will show us all whether California legislators will prioritize stability and security for their constituents, or the profit motives of corporate lobbyists.”

Beyond the direct campaign contributions, the website also explains that the California Apartment Association (CAA) and the California Association of Realtors (CAR) spent millions in the 2017-2018 election cycle. Combined in 2018, they contributed a whopping $2,875,500 directly to the California Republican and Democratic Parties. They also contributed hundreds of thousands to Political Action Committees that then spent money in support of some of our legislators. For example, CAR contributed $755,500 to Keep California Golden which spent $225,489 to support the election of Asm. Rudy Salas and $20,523 in support of Asm. James Ramos. CAA contributed $250,000 to Keeping Californians Working which in turn spent $122,317 to elect Asm. Salas and $111,776 to elect Asm. Ramos.

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