November 18, 2011 — “Capital Punishment The Hard Truth About Washington Corruption From America’s Most Notorious Lobbyist”, the new book just released by convicted ‘Super’ lobbyist Jack Abramoff who served ‘time’ for conspiracy and fraud, etc. is quite the read. And that topic, lobbying, brings me to this week’s ‘thoughts’.
Reading a recent ARDA (American Resort Development Association) Press Release distributed by the AP (Associated Press), I found myself becoming somewhat curious that the Timeshare Developers association had spent $270,000 on lobbying in 3Q” and did so, apparently, on “consumer issues”.
The AP also reported “That’s the same amount the trade group spent a year earlier and in the second quarter of this year”, which means, if I understood that correctly, ARDA spent $810,000 over the course of those three (3) quarters.
According to the PR “The group lobbied Congress on the Commercial Privacy Bill of Rights Act, the Do Not Track Online Act and the Consumer Privacy Protection Act” and between those lobbying efforts and the amount of nearly $1 Million dollars paid by ARDA I found myself becoming even more inquisitive.
The Press Release closed with the claim that the Association “represents timeshare owner associations, resort management companies and others”; so I assume those “others” are the timeshare developers themselves who are, to my way of thinking, the backbone of the industry and Association.
Naturally I was interested in learning more about those “consumer issues” etc. and the justifications that motivated ARDA to spend nearly $1,000,000 on them, so I decided to touch base with the House Clerks’ office for additional details and information.
What I am beginning to discover is that ARDA and their lobbying representatives have been quite the busy little beavers and firms like Washington D.C.-based Bockorny Group, Inc. are being paid a tidy little sum on a fairly regular basis to represent ARDA on some “issues” that are going to require some additional probing efforts on my part.
And that is exactly what I’m doing. E-mails with snooping questions have been sent, phone calls are being made requesting interviews, etc because ‘some’ of the stuff I’ve discovered thus far doesn’t seem to be in the interest of our industry, per se, and as such, neither does the expense that is ultimately being paid by ‘all’ who are members of ARDA.
Where this will all lead is anyone’s guess. But it ought to be pretty darn interesting and I will report my findings over the ensuing months because in the real ‘Lobbying’ universe — even though ARDA and our industry are but mere minnows in an ocean full of Great White Sharks— it seems, nonetheless, we have one or two chips in the game.
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