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August 02, 2016

Statement on AARP’s sponsorship of ALEC

Statement by Richard Fiesta, executive director of the Alliance for Retired Americans, regarding AARP’s sponsorship of the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC):

“We’re deeply disappointed to learn that AARP is sponsoring ALEC, an organization that has supported state efforts that hurt seniors and working Americans.

“ALEC is a major force behind the rise of state Voter ID laws, which disproportionately hurt seniors and take away their ability to cast their votes, and have opposed efforts to rein in prescription drug prices.

“Other companies, including Ford and Google, have withdrawn their support for ALEC. If AARP truly represents the interests of seniors, then it should do the same.”

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12 thoughts on “Statement on AARP’s sponsorship of ALEC”

  1. I am very, very (extremely) upset to learn that AARP is or has been a sponsor of ALEC a group known to write harmful legislation to seniors and others. What can we do to let the people responsible at AARP know that we are very surprised and unhappy with their decision?

  2. I will be speaking with our state AARP director this morning about ALEC. If I don’t get the right answer, I’m done with them!

  3. I was upset also, and just got off the phone. They said they did fund in 2016 in the form of a fee to attend a legislative conference, presumably to present AARP’s position. When I asked the amount of the fee, I was told to send an email to AARP member services and I could ask in the email that it be forwarded AARP CEO Joanne Jenkins.

    When I asked about AARP’s home page statement of non-partisan, I was told that that didn’t mean they didn’t intermingle with partisan groups. I would of course expect AARP to present AARP protection and advocacy of seniors and retirees. I would NOT expect them to fund, donate, nor hand out gifts at conferences. In fact, I would like to know for which years AARP has had any association with ALEC, the amount of funding, contribution, donation, fees or whatever other semantics it takes to get an answer.

    ALEC’s business model and definitely anti-senior/retiree is the antithesis of what AARP represents as their mission. This opens an entire can of worms. ALEC wants to privatize Social Security, cut pensions and turn Medicare over to insurance companies.

    These selected insurance companies stand to make a fortune, and if there is a rollback on the existing laws that no pre-existing conditions can bar insurance, how much do you think it would cost a senior to have insurance. In fact, AARP has a preferred insurance company for supplemental insurance; it is on their home page…United Healthcare.

    Privatizing Social Security, that fund we always thought was a trust fund for our senior years, is associated as a tax. And you know what taxes due, they fund or are invested. The wealthy really don’t care about Social Security; it is added income for which they have to pay taxes. Many wealthy refuse Social Security. Privatizing will cost a bundle and that bundle will go to private corporations.

    It’s all about the money…follow the money trail.

  4. If any state has seen what ALEC model legislation can do when teamed up with Republican politicians like Vos, Darling, Vukmir, Lazich, and Ballweg, it is Wisconsin. They have cared nothing for the real needs of working people and seniors, and have gone to do GREAT damage since 2011! It is shameful that AARP even considered joining ALEC, let alone doing it. Their excuse that “they are non-partisan and it keeps lines of communication open” is complete hogwash. Look, AARP could have gone to their conference and presented talks on the REAL needs of seniors and their families WITHOUT joining! They could have also invited ALEC legislators to Washington for discussions. You DON’T REWARD YOUR ENEMY with sponsorship BEFORE they even show the willingness to change by adopting new, sensitive needs-based legislation for working families and seniors; not corporations and their fat cats!

  5. They can change their policy and their management or I end my 30
    year membership. I hope there is a lawsuit to get back our small dues
    which were used against us. The lawyers can keep my money, just
    squeeze it back out of AARP.

    Next thing-the Boy Scouts will be aiding ISIS. Aargh!

  6. It feels like we have been sold out from the inside to the fat-cats at ALEC. AARP should make a statement denouncing any affiliation with ALEC and distance themselves in the future. The people who directed this at AARP should be relieved of their duties and shown the door. I will NOT be renewing my membership as I can not trust AARP to represent my interests.

  7. I cancelled my membership yesterday and told the membership person why. Then I went on their website and wrote them an email about why I cancelled my membership. With millions of members, I doubt very much that access to legislators is a problem. Their lobbyists are no doubt paid very well. Legislators who join ALEC are the ones who are intent on privatizing Social Security and Medicare, cutting their funding, and raising the benefit age. No, the only thing AARP can do to show they do not want to be associated with ALEC or ALEC’s goals would be to leave ALEC, as many other companies have done since 2012.

  8. What’s new? I decided not to have anything to do with AARP after they supported Bush’s plan that would have destroyed Social Security. Keep up, people.

  9. This makes one wonder if AARP is playing on both sides of the field. Joining an organization that wants to abolish what retirees paid for ie; Social security and Medicare , and then flooding members with mailings to give now or organizations like ALEC may take our benefits away. Hmmm.

  10. Thanks ARA for shedding light on this problem. I spoke to an AARP Rep over the phone the other day and she told me that AARP is distancing themselves from ALEC. I would think that would be a part of they’re mission statement going forward.

    A word to the wise; it’s a good idea to send a letter (email & phone calls are much easier and takes less resources to deal with) and request a response in writing.

  11. I see that AARP is now claiming that “Left-Wing Bullying” caused them to finally distance themselves from ALEC, not the seniors that they lied to. Don’t let them wriggle off the hook.

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