Washington Report

Advocacy Updates from Washington D.C.

NAR Signs Letter Urging Changes to Government Travel Rules

May 7, 2012

NAR has signed on to a letter by ASAE, The Center for Association Leadership, which urges Congress to make changes to legislation approved in late April that places severe restrictions on government employee attendance at meetings and conferences, including those held by trade associations. Approved as amendments to the Digital Accountability and Transparency Act (DATA) in the House and the Senate’s 21st Century Postal Service Act, the amendments were added to the bills in the wake of the General Services Administration scandal (regarding a 2010 GSA conference in Las Vegas that cost taxpayers $823,000).

NAR supports the goal of the amendments – creating more transparency and accountability in government spending – but is concerned that their language will chill government employees’ participation in non-governmental meetings and conferences, which is essential to the development of informed policymaking. For example, the language implies that if one HUD employee attends an NAR event, no other employee from that agency may attend any other NAR sponsored event in that fiscal year.

NAR has reached out to REALTOR® state and local associations to encourage them to sign on to the letter, along with the 800+ groups that have already done so. Additionally, NAR has been working with ASAE to set up Hill meetings with key offices whose Members are in a position to advocate for the needed changes.

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