Is There Any Form Of Corruption Senator Burr Didn't Engage In?

from the curious dept

Senator Richard Burr, the head of the powerful Senate Intelligence Committee sure seems to be engaged in a bunch of sketchy looking activities. First, there was the revelation from a few weeks back of selling off a bunch of hotel stock after being briefed about COVID-19 (while simultaneously telling the public it was nothing to worry about -- and that the US was "in a better position than any other country to respond," which now looks laughable in retrospect). The latest, as revealed by ProPublica, is that Burr sold his DC townhouse to a lobbyist who has had issues before Barr's committees, in a "private" unlisted sale for what appears to be above market rates.

Burr sold the small townhouse, in the Capitol Hill neighborhood, for what, by some estimates, was an above market price — $900,000 — to a team led by lobbyist John Green. That is tens of thousands of dollars above some estimates of the property’s value by tax assessors, a real estate website and a local real estate agent. The sale was done off-market, without the home being listed for sale publicly.

Green is a longtime donor to Burr’s political campaigns and has co-hosted at least one fundraiser for him. In 2017, the year of the sale, Green lobbied on behalf of a stream of clients with business before Burr’s committees.

As with many of these things, whether or not this is legal depends on a lot of the specifics (including if this really was sold above market rate). But even if was legal, it certainly has all the appearance of fairly blatant corruption.

“This has every appearance of being a violation of the gift ban,” said Craig Holman, a lobbyist for the watchdog group Public Citizen. “The gift ban is one of the most basic legal frameworks for preventing corruption. Lobbyist gifts to lawmakers is akin to a bribe.”

Burr, for his part insists that the sale was for fair market value, despite what others are saying.

Tax assessors valued the Washington, D.C., home for $796,720 in 2017, more than $100,000 less than Green and his business partner paid for it. But tax assessment values in the city often come in under market prices. Burr paid $525,000 for the place in 2003.

Redfin, the real estate website, estimated the home’s value to be $813,973 in the month the house was sold, though the company’s valuations are far from exact.

Bob Williams, a Coldwell Banker real estate agent who helps buy and sell homes in the Capitol Hill neighborhood, reviewed the listing for ProPublica and said that he would estimate that in early 2017 Burr’s home would have sold on the market for around $850,000, possibly more if there were multiple competing offers.

Given that, it certainly doesn't appear to be an egregious overreach, but still one that certainly leads to significant skepticism about Burr's ethics. One thing about being a public official is that you're supposed to go out of your way to avoid situations that would make the public doubt your commitment to the public interest. Instead, Burr and some others in the article are going by the legalistic "well, the Senate Ethics Committee was notified and we followed their rules" which is a legalistic way of saying "my colleagues looked the other way for me."

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Filed Under: lobbyists, richard burr, soft corruption


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  • icon
    Stephen T. Stone (profile), 15 Apr 2020 @ 2:47pm

    One thing about being a public official is that you're supposed to go out of your way to avoid situations that would make the public doubt your commitment to the public interest.

    You say that like ethics have ever stopped a modern Republican lawmaker from doing shady bullshit.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      OldMugwump (profile), 15 Apr 2020 @ 3:05pm

      Re: Ethics

      I wish this sort of thing were confined to Republicans.

      But it seems to affect all parties, in all countries. Something about the nature of power and entitlement.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • icon
        Stephen T. Stone (profile), 15 Apr 2020 @ 3:37pm

        Corruption isn’t confined to Republicans, but they definitely partake in it far more often, and with more brazeness, than Democrats.

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

        • identicon
          Anonymous Coward, 15 Apr 2020 @ 7:55pm

          Re:

          Often, maybe. But brazen corruption is something common to both parties. Jack Evans comes to mind.

          reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

          • identicon
            Anonymous Coward, 16 Apr 2020 @ 6:10am

            Re: Re:

            I'm trying to recall any so called liberal or non-conservative say anything even close to some of the shit donny has done/said.

            "When somebody’s president of the United States, the authority is total."

            "I am the chosen one"

            In reference to nuclear weapons he asked If we have them why cant we use them

            many many more

            reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

            • icon
              Uriel-238 (profile), 16 Apr 2020 @ 5:33pm

              Nuclear Threats by His Excellency

              North Korea best not make any more threats to the United States. They will be met with fire and fury, like the world has never seen.

              The whole world stood still for a moment after that one. I wrote a blog piece on it and why presidents (who aren't tyrannical kings) don't say things like that.

              reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

          • icon
            Scary Devil Monastery (profile), 16 Apr 2020 @ 8:21am

            Re: Re:

            "But brazen corruption is something common to both parties."

            Well, no. Republicans take the cake when it comes to brazen corruption. Democrats tend to at least pretend as if their responsibility in office wasn't primarily to give hand jobs to their campaign contributors.

            The difference is that a crook who needs to pretend they're not one is a lot less harmful and occasionally beneficial compared to the crook who tries to pretend it isn't racist to describe the KKK and neo-nazis as "Very Fine People" or mexicans in general as rapists, and won't recognize giving half his family cushy top level government jobs as nepotistic.

            The truly horrifying thing is, as some may recall from the days of the GWB administration, that the current POTUS is so corrupt it even makes him lackadaisical as a crook, as compared to, say, Cheney and Rumsfeld.

            reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • icon
        Scary Devil Monastery (profile), 16 Apr 2020 @ 8:15am

        Re: Re: Ethics

        "But it seems to affect all parties, in all countries. Something about the nature of power and entitlement."

        Not so much.

        More the nature of a child who has never been taught respect or responsibility, growing up a spoiled princeling with out even the concept that their immediate wishes should ever be denied.

        In the end we get the politicians we deserve. That's how democracy works, even in a republic.

        It's not exactly surprising that there's a sharp correlation between voter apathy and the moral state of politicians in any given country...

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 15 Apr 2020 @ 3:08pm

    If the president and family give the finger to the public interest all the time then of course Burr and other republicans will follow suit. Monkey see, monkey do.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    Anonymous Anonymous Coward (profile), 15 Apr 2020 @ 3:29pm

    "Lobbyist gifts to lawmakers is akin to a bribe."

    Unfortunately our tone deaf, politically motivated SCOTUS thought otherwise when they decided Citizens United. That quote should go for anyone who is not an actual constituent of the party in question, and then limited to some reasonable amount. I know the reasonable amount currently exists, but it is only for constituents, the PAC's and corporate givers seem to be able to do whatever they want.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    K`Tetch (profile), 15 Apr 2020 @ 3:33pm

    If there were ever a 'best case' scenario for civil asset forfeiture, it's for the likes of Burr and Trump, and their financial irregularities.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 15 Apr 2020 @ 3:40pm

    Yes - but only hoof ones

    He clearly hasn't been misusing his powers to save lives like Carl Lutz issuing documents to save half of the Jewish population of Buddapest and blatantly going over his allotment of 8000 by "accidentally misinterpreting it" to cover "families".

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    Uriel-238 (profile), 15 Apr 2020 @ 4:06pm

    One thing about being a public official is that you're supposed to go out of your way to avoid situations that would make the public doubt your commitment to the public interest.

    Um, why is it that so many of our officials appear to have never read the memo. If we genuinely jumped on our officials for infractions like this, I'd believe we really meant to quash bribery.

    But dark money is normal. There are tons of legal ways to throw money (and therefore influence) at our officials. Elizabeth Warren admitted as much that she couldn't sustain revenue ethics and hope to compete. (And Biden is an unapologetic puppet of his contributors.)

    In Burr's defense, it sounds like he didn't make too much of a bonus from the sale. I'm used to values in the millions or tens of millions (like around how much Mike Bloomberg makes in an hour). One hundred thousand dollars or so seems like a pittance comparatively.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      Stephen T. Stone (profile), 15 Apr 2020 @ 4:40pm

      One hundred thousand dollars or so seems like a pittance comparatively.

      Oh, I’m sure it feels that way to him. But for families whose finances don’t reach anywhere near his level, 100k dropping into their laps would be akin to a miracle.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • icon
        Uriel-238 (profile), 15 Apr 2020 @ 5:12pm

        Re:

        Oh, agreed. For $100K some of us might consider actually assassinating a US Senator.

        But if we're going to be outraged at this, there's a whole lot of money out there changing hands, changing minds and changing policy amounting orders of magnitude more. And when someone asks who's going to pay for that? regarding public services, it gives some of us that lean and hungry look.

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

        • icon
          nasch (profile), 16 Apr 2020 @ 8:12am

          Re: Re:

          But if we're going to be outraged at this, there's a whole lot of money out there changing hands, changing minds and changing policy amounting orders of magnitude more.

          Actually it's surprising how little it takes to bribe a member of Congress. You would think it would be millions of dollars on the regular, but often as little as a few thousand is all it takes.

          reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 15 Apr 2020 @ 5:34pm

        Re:

        Oh, I’m sure it feels that way to him.

        On the other side, I would not be shocked if the lobbyist is rich enough to not care too much about the price. Buying property is just another problem to be solved by throwing money at it. While I don't know what the DC real estate market is like, bidding $100K over a "reasonable" price would be normal enough in Vancouver or Toronto, even for an average buyer; the "luxury" market is another universe entirely.

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    That Anonymous Coward (profile), 15 Apr 2020 @ 5:11pm

    The sad thing is people will see him as a single outlier.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      stine, 16 Apr 2020 @ 4:25am

      Re: outlier

      No, no we don't. Unfortunately, we see it as improper, immoral, and just plain wrong, but we have little power to fix it, until the revolution comes.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 16 Apr 2020 @ 7:40am

        Re: Re: outlier

        "until the revolution comes"
        Rinse, repeat

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

        • icon
          Uriel-238 (profile), 16 Apr 2020 @ 6:36pm

          Same as the old boss

          It surprises me we don't have a wiki of ready-made template constitutional articles for new regimes so as to encourage them to start as something different than a totalitarian military state in perpetual provisional status because a general started feeling Royal.

          That way a new regime could look up the most current language to create the kind of system they want (filling in blanks as appropriate), have on hand the current best language (and the pitfalls each protocol is meant to trap for).

          That way, we don't have a coup every few years or raise our kids in poverty under self-obsessed oligarchs and warlords.

          All our current visible experts are struggling desperately to hold together a crumbling capitalist system that is besieged across multiple fronts. I'd think they'd realize sooner or later it's time to make sure plan-B looks different enough from plan-A that it won't be thwarted by the same causes.

          reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 15 Apr 2020 @ 5:12pm

    Surely the fact that it was a private sale rather than the house being listed on the market is a big red flag?

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 15 Apr 2020 @ 5:59pm

    Expecting a politician to not engage in underhanded or shady actions is like expecting a dog to not lick its butt.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      Uriel-238 (profile), 15 Apr 2020 @ 7:11pm

      expecting a dog to not lick its butt

      A dog licks its but as a part of grooming (as ghastly as the implications might be to us). The process sweeps for parasites.

      Underhanded and shady actions like corruption are, in this case, symptomatic of a compromised system, either due to parasites (lobbyists who have special access to officials) or a failed immune system (moral hazards without direct consequences).

      So it's more like a dog butt-scooching or a dog with worms in its stool.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      PaulT (profile), 16 Apr 2020 @ 12:08am

      Re:

      ...which is a big part of the problem. If you don't take your representatives to task or make your voice heard when they do stuff like this, and instead throw your hands up in the air because it's expected, then you just attract more parasites to office. If get away with this stuff because it's "expected", why would they ever stop?

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • icon
        JoeCool (profile), 16 Apr 2020 @ 6:52am

        Re: Re:

        Because 99.99999% of us CAN'T do anything about it. We're stuck with the ONLY action we can take being voting for the "lesser of two evils". In some cases where a candidate runs unopposed, we can't even do THAT much! All you can do is hold your nose, vote for the least smelly piece of shit running, grit your teeth, and get a little more angry every year.

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

        • icon
          Scary Devil Monastery (profile), 16 Apr 2020 @ 8:33am

          Re: Re: Re:

          "All you can do is hold your nose, vote for the least smelly piece of shit running, grit your teeth, and get a little more angry every year."

          And every time you do both the entrenched parties become that more convinced no change or improvement on their part is needed.

          If the average US voter participation spiked from 50% to 90% either both parties would radically change within two terms of office, or one party would and the other vanish from US politics permanently.

          The US voter today is like that archetype of an abused spouse who has grown so used to the horrible situation they're in that even when options present themselves s/he can't bring themselves to even attempt getting away from the status quo. To the point of continuously defending the pile of garbage passing for their "significant other" against any outside intervention attempts.

          Neither of the parties will change unless they are forced to do so by the imminent threat of never again holding office. And the voter holding his/her nose is their biggest ally, guaranteeing they'll keep getting away with it.

          reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

          • icon
            nasch (profile), 16 Apr 2020 @ 8:49am

            Re: Re: Re: Re:

            If the average US voter participation spiked from 50% to 90% either both parties would radically change within two terms of office, or one party would and the other vanish from US politics permanently.

            Interesting idea, how did you reach that conclusion?

            reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

              • icon
                nasch (profile), 16 Apr 2020 @ 9:28am

                Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

                Ol' Cheetolini himself said as much:

                Sure, but obviously that is not a reliable source of information.

                reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

                • icon
                  PaulT (profile), 16 Apr 2020 @ 9:40am

                  Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

                  Indeed, but if even he knows that other parties will benefit if the historical voter suppression and gerrymandering that have helped his party over the last few decades are removed, it must be pretty damn obvious!

                  reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

                  • icon
                    nasch (profile), 16 Apr 2020 @ 12:57pm

                    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

                    That's a thing that he believes, not necessarily something he knows. There's a good chance the measures he was opposing would have helped Republicans. The people most vulnerable to coronavirus, and thus most in need of absentee voting, are older people. And who do they vote for? It doesn't rhyme with "Bemocrats".

                    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

                    • icon
                      PaulT (profile), 17 Apr 2020 @ 7:44am

                      Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

                      Nor is it Republicans. In which case instead of the current 2 party system, you get a different mix of party influence without having to directly pander to or deflect Republicans, which is a good enough start.

                      I'm not saying that every new voter would naturally vote Democrat. I'm saying there's a reason why voter suppression and gerrymandering have been so heavily targeted toward traditionally non-R voters.

                      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

                      • icon
                        nasch (profile), 17 Apr 2020 @ 10:04am

                        Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

                        Nor is it Republicans.

                        Yeah, it is. That's who old people generally vote for. And whether increased voter turnout would help Republicans or Democrats is missing the original point, which is whether it would transform those parties.

                        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

                        • icon
                          PaulT (profile), 17 Apr 2020 @ 11:02pm

                          Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

                          You seem to be assuming that there's not a lot of older voters out there who either vote differently or have not been suppressed or otherwise dissuaded from voting in the same way as younger voters. The main issue is that there's a certain minority of older right-wing voters who are often highly motivated by Fox and others to vote a certain way, but they don't represent a majority of potential voters overall, from what I understand. All it means is that a certain type of R voter skews older, and the party pander to them to keep them motivated.

                          Also, how would ensuring that many people whose voice is not normally heard are having their votes counted not transform the parties? The only way that could happen is if the current voting outcomes are matched by the outcome with a higher turnout, but that's highly unlikely given how skewed the current suppression tactics are known to be.

                          More likely is that it's shown how unrepresentative the current Republican lineup actually is,which would force that party to change tactics to catch a wider range of voters, while other parties would be free to stop pandering to those the Republicans currently represent and be free to actually do the things that they have had to compromise upon in recent years.

                          reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

                          • icon
                            nasch (profile), 18 Apr 2020 @ 8:58am

                            Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

                            I'm not just making stuff up because it sounds right. That's not how I roll. Older people are more likely to be Republican. It's a fact.

                            https://news.gallup.com/poll/172439/party-identification-varies-widely-across-age-spectrum.asp x

                            https://www.people-press.org/2016/09/13/2-party-affiliation-among-voters-1992-2016/

                            https://www.pe wresearch.org/fact-tank/2018/11/08/the-2018-midterm-vote-divisions-by-race-gender-education/

                            Also, how would ensuring that many people whose voice is not normally heard are having their votes counted not transform the parties?

                            If people voted in much the same patterns that they do now, but more of them, I don't see why it would necessarily do so. I'm not saying it's impossible or even unlikely, but it's being presented as something that just logically follows from A to B, and I don't see it.

                            More likely is that it's shown how unrepresentative the current Republican lineup actually is,which would force that party to change tactics to catch a wider range of voters, while other parties would be free to stop pandering to those the Republicans currently represent and be free to actually do the things that they have had to compromise upon in recent years.

                            That sounds pretty plausible.

                            reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

                            • icon
                              PaulT (profile), 18 Apr 2020 @ 10:04am

                              Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

                              Yes, older people who are not currently disenfranchised, or otherwise demotivated are more likely to vote Republican.

                              "If people voted in much the same patterns that they do now, but more of them"

                              That's the point I'm trying to make. Current disenfranchisement and gerrymandering tactics are made to ensure the a lot of people will not or can not vote in the patterns in which they would do if those restrictions were not place. Therefore, extrapolating those patterns on to what would happen if those restrictions were removed is an utter folly.

                              reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

            • icon
              Scary Devil Monastery (profile), 17 Apr 2020 @ 2:00am

              Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

              "Interesting idea, how did you reach that conclusion?"

              It's fairly well established by now. When voter apathy goes up and voter participation goes down every election ends up a tug-of-war between the fanatics of the primary contenders.

              Currently the election looks like it will involve only the Cult Of Trump and the Hold-your-nose voters, for instance.

              Anyone who truly can't stand either Trump or Biden will abstain - which means that as far as the actual parties are concerned the only thing they need to do to win is to successfully mudsling the opponent until even their own candidate looks like a less repulsive choice.

              Higher voter participation means other candidates than the convenient sock puppet pushed by the party leadership might end up winning primaries - and at that point the party leaders will face the choice of either changing their policies to support candidates the majority of voters actually want - or completely lose control over who ends up the next presidential candidate.

              There's a reason republicans are on record as saying they consistently lose as voter participation goes up, and actively oppose measures that would make more people vote.

              reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

              • icon
                nasch (profile), 17 Apr 2020 @ 7:20am

                Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

                Higher voter participation means other candidates than the convenient sock puppet pushed by the party leadership might end up winning primaries

                They might. But I would not say that definitely follows. Do we really know who the people who don't care enough about politics to vote would vote for if they did care?

                reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

                • icon
                  Scary Devil Monastery (profile), 20 Apr 2020 @ 1:50am

                  Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

                  "Do we really know who the people who don't care enough about politics to vote would vote for if they did care?"

                  We sort of do. Looking at historical fact every nation with a high percentage of voters tends to end up with governments run by politicians who have to make an actual effort.

                  The fewer political parties exist and the lower the proportion of the voting citizenry the more likely a nation is to be governed by the extreme views.

                  Ironically it was largely US influence post world war 2 which caused that research to emerge. Everyone wanted to know how to avoid another Hitler. And the result historians came up with was that low voter percentage and few credible political candidates made for pending disaster.

                  Bear in mind - Hitler was elected chancellor on a total of 12% of the proportional vote - but because only 30% of the german citizenry was even arsed to go to the ballots in the first place that minority vote made him King.

                  Trump is riding the same wave. As long as the only ones going to the ballots are his own cult he'll stay golden.
                  And that also means the dems can remain lazy because all they have to do is put up a candidate who isn't Trump and they'll get the ones fanatically opposed to Trump and can hope that'll be enough.

                  Both parties are putting all their hopes in the extremists because, at the end, that allows them to choose whichever tool they can make look marginally less bad than the opposition.

                  If more people voted through the entire selection process it's pretty much given that the parties would have to do better than merely catering to the extreme. That's the way it's panned out in more healthy democracies, worldwide.

                  reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

                  • icon
                    nasch (profile), 20 Apr 2020 @ 8:13am

                    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Voters

                    Thanks, good comment.

                    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

                  • icon
                    Uriel-238 (profile), 20 Apr 2020 @ 12:40pm

                    "Both parties are putting all their hopes in the extremists"

                    The liberal hopes were in the so-called extremists (the ones who wanted to restore social safety nets). What we got was Biden who is conpicuously as milquetoast as Romney, Kerry and Dole, the last three guys to lose an election against an incumbent.

                    We can hope the anti-trump sentiment may propel Biden to victory, but he's clearly Trump-lite, id est a corporate shill (as opposed to a theocratic shill, which is just a different kind of corporate shill).

                    I expect an Obama-lite term from Biden after which the GOP -- possibly another Trump -- will come back in full fascist force in 2024 or 2028.

                    And then I'll see you all in the gulags.

                    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

                    • icon
                      Scary Devil Monastery (profile), 21 Apr 2020 @ 1:48am

                      Re: "Both parties are putting all their hopes in the extremists"

                      "The liberal hopes were in the so-called extremists (the ones who wanted to restore social safety nets). What we got was Biden who is conpicuously as milquetoast as Romney, Kerry and Dole, the last three guys to lose an election against an incumbent."

                      I'd argue that Biden is the extremist choice as well. What else can you call a candidate whose intended voters will all be holding their noses while voting for "Not Trump!"?

                      Biden isn't "milquetoast". He's the guy who has uncompromisingly aligned his public policy with that of his campaign contributors and party benefactors through his entire career. I'd argue that a candidate whose first act of office will be to subject his right to write executive orders to the equivalent of an online E-bay auction an extremist, all right.

                      He just doesn't sound like an extremist because he will be the diametric opposite of Trump, telling everyone exactly what they want to hear.

                      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

        • icon
          Uriel-238 (profile), 16 Apr 2020 @ 6:23pm

          99.99999%

          It's 99.98% according to Professor Larry Lessig who tracked the number of people who contribute the maximum amount to campaigns.

          But yes, for the rest of us all our phone calls, crabby letters to our representatives and so on have a 0.00... (undetectable) effect on changing the minds of our representatives. Constituents have no voice.

          Something something about when nonviolent protest is impossible...

          reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

          • icon
            Scary Devil Monastery (profile), 17 Apr 2020 @ 2:02am

            Re: 99.99999%

            "Something something about when nonviolent protest is impossible..."

            I always find it horrifying when the four boxes are brought up and it becomes clear we've already opened the third and shaking our heads at what the result...

            reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    DannyB (profile), 16 Apr 2020 @ 6:28am

    I think he has not taken lobbyist money in order to defund school lunch programs in order to fund athletic programs for wealthy kids.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    Upstream (profile), 16 Apr 2020 @ 9:23am

    Appraised Values v Market Value

    Bottom line up front: Market value is a nebulous and fluid concept. And any particular appraised value may not accurately reflect market value.

    Ethical considerations aside (and I think this example has all the earmarks of a thinly veiled bribe) it should be noted that real estate agents, real estate websites, and tax assessors have completely different considerations for setting a price or value on a property, and none of them may accurately reflect actual market value. Some may be higher than actual market value, and some may be lower, for a variety of reasons.

    Real estate agents may set a price higher or lower depending on their personal situation: Do they want to make a quick sale? Would they rather wait in hopes of getting a higher commission? Do they want to inflate the total dollar amount of properties they have listed? There are likely other considerations, as well.

    Real estate websites may have other priorities, since they may be putting prices on many more properties than an individual agent: Do they want to increase or decrease buyer interest in a given neighborhood? Are they getting paid to set prices a certain way? Do they want to favor some listings or agents and disfavor others? Again, there are likely other considerations, as well.

    Taxing authorities have still other considerations: Is the property owner a friend of the assessor? How much money does the jurisdiction (or various taxing authorities) want to raise for the upcoming tax period? What is the millage rate? Are millage rate changes voted on, versus appraisal changes simply made by the assessor? How much of an increase in appraised value does the assessor think he / she can get away with without triggering an appeal by the property owner? And on and on. . . .

    Even the actual selling price only reflects the market value at a particular time for a specific (not necessarily a comparable) property, and for the actual buyer and seller involved.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]


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