How many times have you had a real estate agent pay for the privilege of having dinner with you? Tonight at 7:00, at the Washington D.C. restaurant Johnny’s Half Shell, that’s what Senator Bob Corker will enjoy. The Center for Responsive Politics reports that Corker will attend a “Real Estate Dinner”.
What’s a Real Estate Dinner? It’s a dinner where the food doesn’t matter so much as the money that changes hands. The REALTORS Political Action Committee, the Real Estate Investment Trusts PAC, the International Council of Shopping Centers, the National Multi Housing Council Mortgage Bankers Association PAC, and the Associated General Contractors PAC will each be bringing $2,500 to hand to Senator Corker. Individual real estate professionals will bring checks for $1,000 to buy access to the senator’s presence.
Why is Bob Corker so cozy with the Real Estate industry? Before he entered the Senate, Corker made a large amount of money working in commercial real estate himself. While he was Mayor of Chattanooga, Corker’s real estate company sold protected wetlands near the South Chickamauga Creek to Wal-Mart, so that Wal-Mart could build a big box store. While in public office, Corker held many meetings with his real estate company in order to give the company business tips based on his knowledge as a public employee, in spite of the fact that Corker had said that the company was placed in a “blind trust”.
With Senator Corker and issues of real estate, public trust should not be blind.