The Sutherland Institute has been on a big push to kill any illegal immigration enforcement-related bill (including those addressing identity theft) and seems to appears to have teamed with some powerful lobbyists who typically represent Realtors. Below is the listing of registered lobbyists hired by the Sutherland Institute found on the Citizen Access section of Utah’s Lobbyist site. Note that the Sutherland Institute is listed as “SI” rather than its full name in an apparent attempt to cloak the association but the address is that of Sutherland (here’s the direct link to the listing):
Detail for SI
Address: 307 West 200 South, Suite 5005
SLC, UT 84101
The following individuals are registered Lobbyists for the Organization:
230 West Towne Ridge Parkway
Sandy, UT 84070
5703 S. 1475 E. #1
South Ogden, UT 84403-7046
If you search Mr. Ostermiller or Kyler you’ll note they have the same clients which include some large and powerful organizations such as the Utah Association of Realtors. Mr. Kyler and Ostermiller are known as the primary lobbyists for the Realtors and Mr. Kyler is the CEO of the Utah Association of Realtors. They wield a significant amount of power at the legislature and weren’t afraid to publicize that in 2006:
…If they live in Utah, they may be dreaming of a career in politics. Chris Kyler, CEO of the Utah Association of Realtors, sounds quite animated as he counts off the many members of his organization who hold high office in the state. “I’ve got people who are on county commissions, mayors, state senators,” Kyler says. “Our lieutenant governor was president of our state association about 20 years ago. Our people are involved in the parties, too. We’ve got precinct chairs and vice chairs and county delegates throughout the state.”
No fewer than 22 people who make their living in real estate also serve as members of the Utah legislature…
…But at the state level, there’s almost never an adversary of much heft standing in opposition to Realtors.
Ask lobbyists for the industry to name a time they failed to get their way and the only sound you hear may be a long pause. Chris Kyler has been with the Utah Association of Realtors during the state’s last seven legislative sessions. “Of the bills that we’ve opposed since 1999, we’ve been able to defeat 100 percent of them,” he says. “We either defeated all of them or we amended them so that it made our position neutral.” The group’s rate of success on bills it actively supported isn’t quite as high, Kyler says, but it’s still “well over 90 percent for seven years running.”
Recently, Mr. Kyler and Mr. Ostermiller were seen consulting with Sutherland after their guest worker bill (SB60) made it through committee. Besides guest worker bills that provide some form of amnesty to illegal immigrants, Sutherland has also been working to block enforcement-related legislation such as HB70 and HB253 which deals with identity theft (Sutherland’s opposition is nothing new). Sutherland (and their lobbyists) are also thought to be behind the effort to stop HB191 which would end tax-subsidized in-state tuition for illegal immigrants. Sutherland is also part of Senator Bramble’s “Coalition of the Willing” which developed SB288 (yet another amnesty bill). The bill resulted in Bramble getting a new nickname: “Bramnesty” (I wonder how Lindsay Graham feels about that…).
So why would Realtors risk being tied to this type of lobbying effort unless there was some benefit or approval from them? The simplest answer is that money talks and like mercenaries, paid the right amount, they’ll take up your cause, whatever it may be. The most disconcerting answer is that they believe they will benefit from illegal immigrants remaining in the State and being granted amnesty. By so doing, Realtors could then sell homes to illegal immigrants, and, yes, illegal immigrants do get loans and buy homes…using stolen (often children’s) or fraudulent social security numbers.
On the other hand, did Sutherland attempt to cloak themselves as “SI” to avoid scrutiny or did the lobbyists do so in an effort to cloak Sutherland as one of their clients from their other clients and/or the public…There is no way to know which.