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NAR flexes political muscle

Rally in nation's capital draws 15,000

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WASHINGTON -- Thousands of Realtors gathered around the Washington Monument today in a demonstration of the National Association of Realtors' political clout.NAR -- fourth on the Center for Responsive Politics' "Heavy Hitters" list of top political donors, with $41.9 million in political donations since 1989 -- upped its game last year, approving a $40-a-year dues increase for its nearly 1 million members to raise $80 million in "soft money" for political advocacy at the local, state and federal level this year and next.Although one poll showed more than 80 percent of Realtors opposed a dues increase, NAR leadership said the move was necessary because the Supreme Court's decision in Citizens United v. FEC would open the floodgates for independent campaign expenditures, and NAR would have to step up spending to maintain its influence.On this sunny mid-60s spring morning, an estimated 15,000 Realtors gathered for a "Rally to Pr...