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AARP Sends Letters to Members About Misleading Social Security Political Ads

AARP CEO Bill Novelli has sent a letter to several Congressional districts across the country that have been targeted by political interest groups mischaracterizing AARP’s Voters’ Guides and the positions of candidates on Social Security.

AARP members in AZ-5, CO-7, FL-16, KY-4, PA-10, and TX-17 will be receiving this correspondence. The letter sent to these districts can be seen below. All political interest groups, parties, and candidates should cease using AARP’s Voters’ Guides in a misleading way.

AARP believes that a bipartisan, balanced plan can maintain guaranteed Social Security benefits for future generations, and an overwhelming number of our members and the American public agree with this position. AARP’s Voters’ Guides provide voters with unedited candidate responses and allow our members and the general public to have a more accurate understanding of the candidates’ positions in order to make an informed choice when they go vote.

AARP’s Voters’ Guides can be found at www.dontvote.com. AARP has a long history of nonpartisanship and does not support or oppose candidates for office or political parties.

Text of Letter:

October 20, 2006

Dear AARP Member:

Every election cycle we see ads trying to scare voters about the future of Social Security. This season is no different, and it’s now happening right here in the [#] Congressional District of [state]. As an AARP member, we wanted to alert you to recent actions taken by some political interests to mischaracterize AARP Voters’ Guides in an effort to mislead voters.

AARP Voters’ Guides ask candidates whether they would “support or oppose a balanced Social Security plan to continue the program’s guaranteed benefits for future generations.” We ask this question because of the critical importance of Social Security, and the need for bipartisan cooperation to strengthen Social Security for the future.

Unfortunately, one recent ad wrongly attacks candidate [candidate] for supporting the need for a bipartisan balanced plan. The ad mischaracterizes the position taken in the AARP Voters’ Guide as being in favor of specific options to achieve that goal. While AARP does not endorse or support any candidates, we do want you to have accurate nonpartisan information on where the candidates stand. We believe that these attack ads are a disservice to the people of [state] and are counterproductive to the need to work together for real solutions that strengthen Social Security for the future.

As you go to the polls on Election Day, consider whether candidates stand for a balanced solvency approach, or the status quo. Gridlock is not a viable solution. There are candidates on both sides of the political aisle who agree with AARP on the need for a balanced plan to continue Social Security’s guaranteed benefits and who reject efforts to use Social Security taxes to fund private accounts. To see how candidates in the [x] District stand, please see the attached copy of the AARP Voters’ Guide questions on Social Security.

To read all unedited candidate responses to questions in AARP Voters’ Guides, visit www.aarp.org/elections. AARP has a long history of non-partisanship and does not support or oppose candidates for office or political parties. We will continue our work to ensure that all political interest groups cease using AARP Voters’ Guides in a misleading way, so that you have the factual, unbiased information you need to make informed choices on Election Day.

Sincerely,

William D. Novelli
Chief Executive Officer

PAID FOR BY AARP, WWW.AARP.ORG, AND NOT AUTHORIZED BY ANY CANDIDATE OR CANDIDATE’S COMMITTEE.

AARP is a nonprofit, nonpartisan membership organization that helps people 50+ have independence, choice and control in ways that are beneficial and affordable to them and society as a whole. We produce AARP The Magazine, published bimonthly; AARP Bulletin, our monthly newspaper; AARP Segunda Juventud, our bimonthly magazine in Spanish and English; NRTA Live & Learn, our quarterly newsletter for 50+ educators; and our website, www.aarp.org. AARP Foundation is an affiliated charity that provides security, protection, and empowerment to older persons in need with support from thousands of volunteers, donors, and sponsors. We have staffed offices in all 50 states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, and the U.S. Virgin Islands.

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