Since 2009, AARP has been responding to requests for information from Republican members of Congress seeking to understand the association’s role in the passage of the Affordable Care Act. AARP has cooperated by turning over thousands of pages of documents, including financial records, and answering hundreds of questions. AARP CEO A. Barry Rand and former national volunteer president, Lee Hammond, gave testimony under oath before two House subcommittees on April 1, 2011, about AARP’s organizational structure and business model.
AARP is posting its correspondence with the members of Congress and other materials so that you can check our record for yourself.
We also provide links to two reports and our responses. The first was issued in 2011 by House Ways and Means oversight subcommittee chairman Rep. Charles Boustany (R-La.) and health subcommittee chairman Rep. Wally Herger (R-Calif.), along with Rep. Dave Reichert (R-Wash.), and purports to detail "the conflict between AARP’s drive for profits, the best interests of its members and the organization’s tax-exempt status."
Play the video below to see and hear former president Lee Hammond’s response to that report.
Following the hearing, Reps. Boustany, Herger and Reichert sent a letter to the Internal Revenue Service calling for an investigation into the organization's tax-exempt status. Here is AARP's response.
The report and testimony can be found on the House Ways and Means Committee website.
On May 6, 2011, AARP responded to additional questions from members of Congress that were received after the April 1 hearing. You can see our responses by clicking here and the attachment referred to in that letter by clicking here. The questions can be found here.
Two tax experts recently shared their views of the House Republicans' report. Bob Boisture published his analysis in May in Tax Analysts, and Bruce D. Collins wrote an article for the August 2011 issue of Inside Counsel.
At issue: Does the nonprofit organization’s business model conflict with its advocacy, education and service commitment to people older than 50?
The second report, issued in 2012 by Sen. Jim DeMint (R-S.C.), renewed many of the House members’ allegations.
These reports raised questions about the way AARP fulfills our mission. We respect Congress’ oversight role and its right to information, and AARP has responded promptly to the many requests. Unfortunately, at the end of this months-long process,we must reject their conclusions.
While AARP is no stranger to political attacks, we wanted to put the information sent to Congress since the fall of 2009 in one, easy-to-find place so you can check for yourself.
Most of these supporting documents are all publicly available through the Internal Revenue Service’s website, Congressional websites or right here at AARP.org, but we thought we’d put them all in one place so you can see what we sent to Congress and why AARP is as committed as ever to fighting for the 80 million Americans 50-plus — not Republicans or Democrats.
- AARP released a statement from its former president, Lee Hammond, on March 30, 2011, in response to the report released by the two members of Congress. You can read the entire response here.
- Hammond also conducted an online chat to respond to questions. Read a transcript of his March 31, 2011, online chat.
- Who is AARP? Click here for a quick read on our history and how we do what we do. AARP sent hundreds and hundreds of pages in multiple correspondences to congressional staff over the past 18 months. The list of letters and their attached documents are below. You’ll no doubt notice that most of what AARP sent is publicly available; regardless, we wanted to be responsive to Congress’ right to request these documents:
o November 30, 2012, Response from AARP President Robert Romasco (PDF)
• Exhibit 1: Doc Fix Statements (PDF)
• Exhibit 2: AARP Supports Freshman Senators' Amendment to Lower Health Care Costs (PDF)
• Exhibit 3: Letter to Speaker Pelosi and Leader Reid (PDF)
• Exhibit 4: Testimony to Senate Special Committee on Aging Hearing
• Exhibit 5: Statement for the Record SFC Budget Enforcement Mechanisms
• Exhibit 6: AARP Urges Finance Committee to Consider Impact on Seniors During Deficit Debate (PDF)
o October 30, 2012, Response from AARP President Robert Romasco to Sen. Jim DeMint (PDF)
o October 26, 2012, additional response from AARP President Robert Romasco to House Energy & Commerce (PDF)
o October 11, 2012, response AARP President Robert Romasco to House Energy & Commerce Republicans (PDF)
o October 5, 2012, response from AARP President Robert Romasco to Sens. Tom Coburn and John Barrasso, Reps. Charles Boustany Jr., and Phil Gingrey (PDF)
o September 20, 2012, Correspondence and press release from House Energy & Commerce Committee Republicans
o September 20, 2012, Correspondence from Sen. Jim DeMint (PDF)
o August 28, 2012, Response to Ways & Means Republicans (Herger and Reichert)
o July 13, 2012 response to Sens. Barrasso and Coburn and Reps. Boustany and Gingrey (PDF) with attachments.
o June 25, 2012, Correspondence from Reps. Wally Herger and Dave Reichert
o June 21, 2012 Correspondence from Sens. Tom Coburn and John Barrasso, Reps. Charles Boustany Jr., and Phil Gingrey
o Responses to House Energy & Commerce Republicans from Venable law firm on behalf of AARP
o May 6, 2011, Correspondence to Wally Herger, Charles Boustany Jr., and Dave Reichert
o April 19, 2011, Correspondence from House Energy & Commerce Republicans
o September 21, 2009, Correspondence to A. Barry Rand
o October 1, 2009, Correspondence to David G. Reichert
o October 15, 2009, Correspondence to Thomas Nelson
o October 23, 2009, Correspondence to A. Barry Rand
o November 2, 2009, Correspondence to David G. Reichert
o December 9, 2009, Correspondence to A. Barry Rand
o December 18, 2009, Correspondence to David G. Reichert, Wally Herger, Ginny Brown-Waite
AARP reports — and releases — every year where our revenues come from and how we use them to help everyone age with dignity and purpose; however, we recognize, there were still some questions. The longer, publicly available, official IRS form 990s and our 2011 audited financial statements are available by clicking here. More simply, AARP annually makes available a one-page consolidated financial form for a quick snapshot on how we earn and use our revenue.
- To understand what those amounts mean in terms of programs and people, click here for a look at some of the many programs that AARP is engaged in across the country.
- AARP is a 501(c)(4) organization. What is that and why is AARP considered one? Click here for a quick explanation based on IRS definitions.
- Almost every year the National Journal lists the top 25 association executives in Washington, D.C., based on their salaries. AARP’s CEO, A. Barry Rand, doesn’t make the list. Click here for a look at the list and how AARP CEO Barry Rand compares.
- AARP’s a big place. We have millions of members, millions of volunteers, hundreds of programs and legislative battles and dozens of products that carry the AARP name. So how does a decision get made around here? Good question. Here’s a simple chart describing it.