October 2, 2017

RENT-SEEKERS GOTTA SEEK RENTS: Behind ‘Grassroots’ Campaigns Over Airbnb, Millions of Industry Dollars.

AirbnbWatch is an example of a hotel industry-funded effort that doesn’t look like one. Internal board meeting documents from the American Hotel & Lodging Association last year say the trade group “stood up” AirbnbWatch as a way of “gathering stories of short-term rental’s harms” and “highlighting Airbnb’s lack of transparency.”

Another AHLA document from August, reviewed by The Wall Street Journal, outlines a communications strategy for the next year intended to create partnerships with “groups, think tanks and other credible voices to weigh in on this issue.”

On its website, AirbnbWatch advertises itself as a project of American Family Voices, a communications firm that wants to “fill gaps in the progressive movement.”

Mike Lux, a former Clinton administration staffer who is president of the group, said he has often opposed the hotel industry on wage and workplace issues, but “on this particular issue, they obviously are in alignment.”

“That’s what you do in politics,” he said.

Politicians legally proscribing entrepreneurial activity at the behest of established players who write fat checks to politicians? Yep, that’s what you do in politics.

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