04/01/2011 | by
Nareit Staff
March 11, 2011

REITs Hike the Hill

NAREIT held its 2011 Washington Leadership Forum (WLF) in Washington, D.C. on March 1 and 2. WLF is the annual opportunity for NAREIT members to meet with key policymakers in Congress and the Administration to discuss the industry’s legislative agenda for the year and other key issues important to commercial real estate. During WLF, NAREIT also held leadership meetings with its Executive Board and Board of Governors.

On March 1, Board members and invited guests heard from Brian Deese, Deputy Director of the National Economic Council, who commented on the current economic conditions and the efforts of the White House to keep the economic recovery moving forward. He also spoke briefly about the Obama Administration’s Better Buildings Initiative, which proposes increased incentives for investments in highly efficient commercial buildings and calls for the tailoring of the proposal to meet the investment needs of REITs. In addition, former U.S. Secretary of Defense and former U.S. Senator William Cohen, chairman and CEO of The Cohen Group, spoke to the Board and discussed the current political unrest in the Middle East and its long-term implications to the national security and economic interests of the U.S.

REITPAC and NAREIT members held a reception to honor Sen. Orrin G. Hatch (R-UT), Ranking Member of the Senate Finance Committee and a senior member of the Senate Judiciary and the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committees. Sen. Hatch, currently in his sixth term, understands commercial real estate and its importance to the economic and social fabric of this nation. He has been a strong voice against burdensome and costly federal regulations throughout his career, and he will play a critical role in the upcoming discussion in Congress on the need to reform the tax code.

During the Board dinner, NAREIT Chair Bryce Blair presented NAREIT’s 2011 Small Investor Empowerment Award to Rep. Eric Cantor (R-VA), the current House Majority Leader and a former member of the House Ways and Means Committee, for his understanding of the important role REITs can play in portfolios of small investors, and his consistent support of legislation to improve the environment for REITs and the publicly traded real estate industry. CLICK HERE for a list of past recipients of the Small Investor Empowerment Award. In addition, NAREIT President and CEO Steve Wechsler presented the annual REITPAC awards in recognition of outstanding performance by NAREIT member companies in support of REITPAC. The Leadership Award was presented to Macerich for collecting the most funds - $42,700 - for REITPAC. For the fifth year in a row, ProLogis received the REITPAC Teamwork Award for having the most employees - 67 - contribute to REITPAC during the year.

Later that evening during a dinner speech, Chris Wallace, host of FOX News Sunday, provided his insights on the current political climate in Washington, D.C., especially regarding the federal budget and prospects for shutting down the government. He also added commentary on the 2012 congressional elections and his outlook on the potential candidates who will run against President Obama.

On March 2, Rep. Dave Camp (R-MI), chairman of the House Ways and Means Committee, addressed NAREIT members at a breakfast on Capitol Hill. He expressed his concerns with the current situation facing the U.S. economy and his hope that the recovery will continue as the Republican-led U.S. House of Representatives focuses its upcoming legislatives efforts on policies that encourage greater job creation. In addition, Rep. Camp discussed the House’s upcoming efforts to address certain aspects of the federal health care law, and he provided his insight on the Ways and Means Committee’s forthcoming hearing schedule related to tax reform. He acknowledged efforts by NAREIT to pursue legislation this year to streamline and update the REIT rules to encourage greater flexibility and efficiency in REIT operations.

After the briefing by Rep. Camp, NAREIT members began a series of meetings with various members of Congress in both the House and the Senate. On average, each executive was scheduled to visit with five policymakers. By day’s end, a total of 53 different congressional offices were visited by NAREIT members (34 House offices and 19 Senate offices), a record number of visits for a WLF. As usual, virtually all of the meetings were held with Members of Congress from both political parties and focused on those in leadership positions or who serve on a committee of importance to the REIT industry, e.g., the tax, banking and financial services committees. A full listing of the congressional offices visited during WLF is located below.

There were three main issues discussed in each congressional meeting: 1) the “Update and Streamline REIT Act,” or US REIT Act, legislation to be introduced soon that would modify the REIT rules to provide greater operational flexibility and efficiency; 2) encouraging non-U.S. equity capital investments in the commercial real estate industry by modifying the “Foreign Investment in Real Property Tax Act,” or FIRPTA; and 3) discussing the roles Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac currently play in the mortgage REIT and multifamily housing sectors as Congress considers GSE reform legislation. In addition, the need to develop incentive programs that encourage energy efficient buildings so that REITs can fully participate in them was discussed in several meetings with appropriate policymakers.

We thank all those executives who participated in this year’s WLF for helping to educate Members of Congress about the REIT and publicly traded real estate industry. We invite you to join us in Washington, D.C. on Feb. 28-29, 2012, for NAREIT’s 2012 Washington Leadership Forum.

Included below are photographs highlighting various meetings and speakers, and attendees, at this year’s WLF. CLICK HERE to view additional pictures located on NAREIT’s website.

March 1 - REITPAC Reception and NAREIT Board of Governors Dinner

Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-UT) speaks to NAREIT members at a reception held in his honor.

NAREIT Chair, Bryce Blair, Chairman & CEO, AvalonBay Communities, Inc. (right) presents Rep. Eric Cantor (R-VA), House Majority Leader, with NAREIT’s 2010 Small Investor Empowerment Award.

NAREIT President and CEO Steve Wechsler (right) presents Walter Rakowich, CEO, ProLogis (center) and Dana Anderson, Vice Chairman of the Board, Macerich (left) with the REITPAC Leadership Award and the REITPAC Teamwork Award. Macerich was recognized for contributing the largest amount of funds and ProLogis was recognized for contributions from the greatest number of individuals to REITPAC during 2010. This was the fifth year in a row that ProLogis has received the REITPAC Teamwork Award.

Chris Wallace, Host, Fox News Sunday, speaks at the Board of Governors Dinner.

March 2 - Breakfast Briefing

Rep. Dave Camp (R-MI), Chairman of the House Ways & Means Committee, addresses WLF attendees at breakfast prior to their beginning a full day of Capitol Hill meetings.

Capitol Hill Visits with Members of the 112th Congress

Sen. Max Baucus (D-MT), Chairman of the Senate Finance Committee (third from left), met with (left to right) Bob Harris, Senior Advisor, Plum Creek Timber Co.; NAREIT Chair, Bryce Blair, Chairman & CEO, AvalonBay Communities, Inc.; Steven Wechsler, President and CEO, NAREIT; Scott D. Winer, Vice President – Taxes, Rayonier, Inc. and Richard B. Clark, President & CEO, Brookfield Office Properties.

Rep. Kevin McCarthy (R-CA), House Majority Whip (center) stands with (left to right) Dana Anderson, Vice Chairman of the Board, Macerich; NAREIT Treasurer, Ronald L. Havner, Jr., President & CEO, Public Storage; Adam Portnoy, President and Managing Trustee, CommonWealth REIT and David Brain, President & CEO, Entertainment Properties Trust.

Sen. John Thune (R-SD) (second from left), a member of the Senate Finance Committee, met with (left to right) Michael Landy, Chief Operating Officer, Monmouth Real Estate Investment Corporation; Walter Rakowich, Chief Executive Officer, ProLogis and NAREIT Chair, Bryce Blair, Chairman & CEO, AvalonBay Communities, Inc.

Rep. Steny Hoyer (D-MD), House Democratic Whip, (third from right) met with (left to right) David B. Henry, President & CEO, Kimco Realty Corporation; NAREIT First Vice Chair, Donald Wood, President and CEO, Federal Realty Investment Trust; Craig Macnab, Chairman & CEO, National Retail Properties, Inc.; Dara Bernstein, Senior Tax Counsel, NAREIT and David Stanford, Executive Director, RealFoundations.

Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-NY) (third from left), Vice Chairman of the Senate Democratic Conference and a member of the Senate Finance Committee, walks with (left to right) Richard B. Clark, President & CEO, Brookfield Office Properties; Steven Wechsler, President and CEO, NAREIT and Michael A. J. Farrell, Chairman, President & CEO, Annaly Capital Management, Inc.

Rep. Devin Nunes (R-CA) (third from left) a member of the House Ways and Means Committee, is pictured with (left to right) David B. Henry, President & CEO, Kimco Realty Corporation; Constance B. Moore, President & CEO, BRE Properties, Inc. and NAREIT Treasurer, Ronald L. Havner, Jr., President & CEO, Public Storage.

Rep. Pete Sessions (R-TX) (left), Chairman of the National Republican Congressional Committee, meets with (clockwise from left) Richard B. Clark, President & CEO, Brookfield Office Properties; David Stanford, Executive Director, RealFoundations; Kirk Freeman, Senior Director, Government Relations, NAREIT and Andrew Jacobs, President & CEO, Capstead Mortgage Corporation. A representative from Rep. Sessions staff also attended the meeting (far right).

Rep. Joseph Crowley (D-NY) (third from right) a member of the House Ways and Means Committee, stands with (left to right) David B. Henry, President & CEO, Kimco Realty Corporation; Peter Baccile, Vice Chairman, J.P. Morgan Securities, Inc.; Arthur Hurley, VP & Sr. Portfolio Manager, Columbia Management; Craig Macnab, Chairman & CEO, National Retail Properties, Inc.; Joseph Downey, Senior VP, Willis and Dana Anderson, Vice Chairman of the Board, Macerich.

Meetings Held at NAREIT's 2011 Washington Leadership Forum


Sen. Max Baucus (D-MT)
Sen. Michael Bennet (D-CO)
Sen. Roy Blunt (R-MO)
Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-OH)
Sen. Richard Burr (R-NC)
Sen. Maria Cantwell (D-WA)
Sen. Ben Cardin (D-MD)
Sen. Robert Casey (D-PA)
Sen. Kent Conrad (D-ND)
Sen. Mike Enzi (R-WY)
Sen. Johnny Isakson (R-GA)
Sen. Tim Johnson (D-SD)
Sen. Jon Kyl (R-AZ)
Sen. Mitch McConnell (R-KY)
Sen. Bill Nelson (D-FL)
Sen. Harry Reid (D-NV)
Sen. Charles Schumer (D-NY)
Sen. Olympia Snowe (R-ME)
Sen. John Thune (R-SD)
Rep. Gary Ackerman (D-NY)
Rep. Xavier Becerra (D-CA)
Rep. Judy Biggert (R-IL)
Rep. Earl Blumenauer (D-OR)
Rep. John Boehner (R-OH)
Rep. Kevin Brady (R-TX)
Rep. Vern Buchanan (R-FL)
Rep. Emanuel Cleaver (D-MO)
Rep. Joseph Crowley (D-NY)
Rep. Danny Davis (D-IL)
Rep. Scott Garrett (R-NJ)
Rep. Jim Gerlach (R-PA)
Rep. Dean Heller (R-NV)
Rep. Jeb Hensarling (R-TX)
Rep. Jim Himes (D-CT)
Rep. Steny Hoyer (D-MD)
Rep. Steve Israel (D-NY)
Rep. Lynn Jenkins (R-KS)
Rep. Sandy Levin (D-MI)
Rep. John Lewis (D-GA)
Rep. Kevin McCarthy (R-CA)
Rep. Richard Neal (D-MA)
Rep. Devin Nunes (R-CA)
Rep. Bill Pascrell (D-NJ)
Rep. Ed Perlmutter (D-CO)
Rep. Tom Price (R-GA)
Rep. Dave Reichert (R-WA)
Rep. Peter Roskam (R-IL)
Rep. Aaron Schock (R-IL)
Rep. Pete Sessions (R-TX)
Rep. Adrian Smith (R-NE)
Rep. Pete Stark (D-CA)
Rep. Pat Tiberi (R-OH)
Rep. Chris Van Hollen (D-MD)



For further information, please contact Robert Dibblee at rdibblee@nareit.com or Kirk Freeman at kfreeman@nareit.com.