March 31, 2011

Lawmakers to Ask IRS to Investigate AARP

Three Republican members of Congress have asked the IRS to investigate whether AARP, the giant advocacy organization for older people, abused its tax-exempt status by lobbying for the new health-care law when it stood to profit from one of its provisions.

Reps. Wally Herger of California, Dave Reichert of Washington, and Charles Boustany of Louisiana—all members of the Ways and Means Committee—issued a report saying that AARP’s business operations could make more than $1-billion over 10 years from increased demand for a specific kind of  insurance plan designed to supplement Medicare.

AARP’s president, Lee Hammond, said in a statement that financial considerations never influence the group’s positions on legislation. “AARP has long maintained that we would gladly forgo revenue in exchange for a lifetime of health and financial security for all older Americans." He said many of the questions raised in the report had "been asked and answered by previous Congresses."

Two Ways and Means subcommittees will hold a hearing on the report on Friday.

AARP has created a Web site to allow people to check information about its finances.