AARP's President Lee Hammond and CEO A. Barry Rand rejected charges by three congressmen that AARP lobbied for health care reform to increase its insurance revenues. "We disagree with each of the conclusions drawn in this report. We reject the allegation that our public policy positions are influenced by our revenues," Rand testified. AARP has endorsed insurance products since it was founded in 1958.
Hammond added: "If any of these charges sound familiar, it's because they are. Critics have made the same arguments at various points in our long history, usually after AARP participated in a long, contentious national debate." Democratic lawmakers Reps. Pete Stark of California and Jim McDermott of Washington labeled the hearings "a witchhunt." "Your sin," McDermott told the AARP officials, "was that you backed the Affordable Care Act."
University of Miami law professor Frances Hill also rejected the need for an IRS investigation of AARP's tax-exempt status. "I saw nothing … that would cause me to think that revocation of exemptions is likely, probable or warranted." Visit aarp.org/checkforyourself to see a record of AARP correspondence.
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