May, 2009
Washington Watch
Inspection News and Views from the American Society of Home Inspectors



Who is ASHI's Man in D.C.?

EDITED BY ASHI STAFF

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Photo: ASHI’s lobbyist Randall Pence, left, with ASHI President Bill Richardson in Washington in March.


For eight years, Randall Pence, Capitol Hill Advocates, Inc., has represented ASHI members and the home inspection profession in Washington, D.C.

Early in the relationship, he hand-delivered to the General Counsel’s office ASHI’s response to a request from the agency of Housing and Urban Development’s (HUD) on September 5, 2001, for comments on its proposal to reduce property flipping.

Recently, he dissected the voluminous Federal Stimulus Plan Package to inform ASHI members what in it might benefit home inspectors.

Both are examples of what Pence does for ASHI as an independent contractor performing comprehensive federal legislative and regulatory government relation services, such as:

  • Monitoring federal legislative and executive branch actions affecting home inspectors;
  • Analyzing and reporting relevant federal government actions;
  • Developing legislative, regulatory and political strategies;
  • Coordinating grass-roots advocacy
  • Crafting written works for legislative/regulatory application;
  • Representing ASHI and serving as advocate for legislative/regulatory issues before members of Congress, their staffs, federal agencies and other executive branch offices, political organizations, coalitions, trade associations related to home sales, business and federal governmental entities, and news organizations;
  • Advising on InspectPAC.
In November of 2002, the federal lobbyist spearheaded what eventually was a successful joint effort with the Appraisal Institute to have HUD modify the Homebuyer Summary Sheet to explain in a meaningful way the distinction between inspections and appraisals.

That same month, he reported that the Society was in the forefront of the RESPA Reform Initiative, which was
intended to put pressure on HUD to deal with FHA mortgage default rates due, in part, to the confusing Real Estate Settlement Procedures Act, which did little to inform or protect homebuyers.

In addition, Pence continued to work with the Senate Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations and the Senate Appropriations Committee to expand awareness of the dangers of property flipping, and to offer home inspections as a means to help reduce the absence of sufficient accurate information about house conditions imparted to homebuyers of flipped properties.

ASHI also asks its lobbyist to champion small-business owner causes.

For instance, in July 2003, Pence told members to take advantage of the recently passed tax cut bill sooner rather than later, and in May 2008, he was invited by the Small Business Agency (SBA) to submit ASHI’s recommendations for modifying the Internal Revenue Service’s treatment of the home office deduction. Current rules are not clear, are too complicated and do not give the degree of safe harbor assurance of compliance that small-business owners want in dealing with the IRS.

To learn more, visit www.ashireporter.org and enter “Pence” in the search function.

It quickly becomes obvious ASHI is widely accepted as the voice of the profession in Washington, D.C., and is welcomed to discussions of issues that influence home inspectors’ livelihood. Now, that’s a tangible membership
benefit.