I understand they still do it -- when you turn fifty the AARP (it used to stand for American Association of Retired Persons but that appears to have been dropped in favor of "real possibilities") will send you an invitation to join their organization. (I've always wondered how they know your age.) Their sales pitch for joining is that they fight for older Americans and joining also includes some discounts. While they've always struck me as rather benign, I've resisted joining. I'm now very glad I never became a member.
A week ago, the Center for Media and Democracy (CMD) released the findings of its investigation of the connection between AARP and ALEC. Here's their intro:
AARP, the non-profit seniors organization that exists to promote the financial security, pensions and healthcare of those over 50, is secretly funding the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC), an organization whose bills have acted against the interests of ordinary Americans, including retirees and their families.
(Note -- a number of West Virginia's legislators are ALEC members including Republican gubernatorial candidate Cole. ALEC's fingerprints are also all over the right-to-work and prevailing wage bills passed in the last legislature. See here for more information.)
The CMD continues:
The Center for Media and Democracy has learned that AARP has recently joined ALEC, and that it is a named sponsor of the ALEC annual meeting taking place in Indianapolis, Indiana from July 27-29, 2016.
AARP isn’t exactly hiding its new financial relationship with ALEC, at least to ALEC legislators. Its logo appears in the conference brochure and attendees at the conference were each provided with an AARP branded portable USB power pack as they registered for the event.
ALEC exists to help its corporate funders advance their lobbying agenda through pushing bills that ALEC peddles as national “model” legislation. As CMD has documented in numerous ways, ALEC is a pay-to-play operation.
The expose goes on to list five ways in which ALEC is working against the best interest of senior Americans. As the Huffington Post summarized:
ALEC has supported privatizing Social Security in the past, opposes the expansion of Medicaid as part of the Affordable Care Act and has helped pass voter identification laws that often disenfranchise senior citizens. . . .
Finally, the bad publicity apparently put pressure on AARP and yesterday the organization announced that it would let its membership expire at the end of the year.