Saturday, September 20, 2014

American Resort Development Association (timeshares): What is ARDA?

Timeshares are big business in South Carolina, as South Carolina has the most timeshares than any other state in the United States excepting Florida. An industry so large in South Carolina with billions of dollars at stake, lobbying by the American Resorts Development Association (ARDA) is also big business in South Carolina.

ARDA has played some role in attempts to pass various laws in South Carolina since at least 2009, according to ARDA's website. Below I have listed some information from the South Carolina State Ethics Commission relating to ARDA's lobbyists in South Carolina and contributions made by ARDA for certain candidates, offices, and dates thereof.

ARDA's South Carolina lobbyists include:

Fred Allen for American Resort Development Association; (803) 254-5626; Post Office Box 12070, Columbia, South Carolina 29211

Baylen T. Moore for American Resort Development Association; (803) 513-2619 7001 Saint Andrews Road 316, Columbia, South Carolina 29212

Whitney K. Williams of American Resort Development Association; (803) 254-5626; Post Office Box 12070, Columbia, South Carolina 29211

ARDA's (including ARDA PAC and ARDA ROC-PAC) South Carolina contributions for candidates, offices, and election dates therefor as reported by the South Carolina State Ethics Commission include:

1. Grand Strand Statewide PAC
2. Peter M. McCoy, Jr., for State House Representative on November 6, 2012
3. Senate Republican Caucus Committee
4. Senate Republican Caucus Committee
5. House Democratic Caucus Committee
6. Senate Republican Caucus Committee
7. Nikki G. Setzler for State Senate on November 4, 2008
8. Nikki G. Setzler for State Senate on November 8, 2016
9. Harry L. Ott for State House Representative 11/02/2010
10. Grady A. Brown, Sr., for State House Representative on June 9, 2010
11. William M. Hixon for State House Representative on June 8, 2010
12. William M. Hixon for State House Representative on June 1, 2012
13. Michael A. Pitts for State House Representative on June 12, 2012
14. Laurie S. Funderburk for State House Representative on November 6, 2012

ARDA is based Washington D.C. and represents timeshares, including owners' associations, property management companies, and others. ARDA monitors regulations of the timeshare industry and invests in lobbying efforts intending to obtain favorable laws and legislation for timeshare companies and others, presumably exclusively on behalf of its members.

It is sometimes difficult to discover who represents the people in the political process. One will often find that public officials elected for office perpetuate and support the positions and interests of their donors. It is no secret that money is a very large influence on the political process.

In my college education and pursuit of a Political Science Honors Degree from Winthrop University, I learned that one of the oldest tricks in the books is for individuals and entities to make donations to both side of the political spectrum and both of the most likely candidates to be elected into office. In this way, the interests of the individual or entity will be represented regardless as to how the election results. In the 2010 Hilton Head Mayoral Race, timeshare affiliates made contributions to both of the runoff candidates.

In the United States, we have a two party political system that most often guarantees that either a republican or democratic nominee will be elected into political office. For fans of The Wire, you will remember that an entire season focused on Tommy Carcetti's race against incumbent Mayor Royce to be the democratic party's nominee for Mayor of Baltimore. Carcetti won and the next thing you know he is Mayor. The Wire skipped the election entirely because Carcetti was essentially guaranteed to become Mayor with the broad support in Baltimore for the Democratic Party.

These are my musings for the day. I will let you consider how these matters affect South Carolina and the timeshare industry in South Carolina.

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