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AARP, formerly the American Association of Retired Persons, is a political advocacy organization that plays a major role in ballot initiative campaigns around the country.

The AARP defines itself as follows[1]

"a nonprofit, nonpartisan membership organization for people age 50 and over ... dedicated to enhancing quality of life for all as we age," which "provides a wide range of unique benefits, special products, and services for our members." AARP operates as a non-profit advocate for its members, one of the most powerful lobbying groups in the United States, and also sells insurance, investment funds and other financial products. AARP claims over 38 million members,[2] making it one of the largest membership organizations for people age 50 and over in the United States. Membership is expected to grow significantly as baby boomers age.

AARP has staffed offices in all 50 states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands.[3]

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.[3]

2012 elections

According to, AARP spent $29,826 in the 2012 election cycle. Open Secrets analyzed the success of 2012 general election cycle spending.[4]

Endorsed candidates

In the 2012 election cycle, AARP supported the following candidates:[4]


Top 10 largest AARP expenditures in 2012[4]
Candidate Party State Office For Against Total Desired Result
Barack Obama Democratic Party N/A President $9,500 $0 $9,500
James Clyburn Democratic Party SC House $1,500 $0 $1,500
Heather Wilson Republican Party NM Senate $1,500 $0 $1,500
Mitt Romney Republican Party N/A President $1,4000 $0 $1,400
Robert Menendez Democratic Party NJ Senate $1,250 $0 $1,250
Richard Carmona Democratic Party AZ Senate $1,000 $0 $1,000
Kirsten Gillibrand Democratic Party NY Senate $1,000 $0 $1,000
Toi Hutchinson Democratic Party IL State Senate $1,000 $0 $1,000
Tim Kaine Democratic Party VA Senate $1,000 $0 $1,000
Rob Portman Republican Party OH Senate $1,000 $0 $1,000
Elizabeth Warren Democratic Party MA Senate $1,000 $0 $1,000


AARP is widely known for addressing issues affecting older Americans through a multitude of initiatives, including lobbying efforts at the state and national governmental level, an activity permitted by its 501(c)(4) status. The organization claims that it is nonpartisan and does not support, oppose or give money to any candidates or political parties. AARP's total revenue for 2006 was approximately $1 billion and it spent $23 million on lobbying.[5]

AARP Services, Inc., founded in 1999, is a wholly owned subsidiary of AARP. AARP Services manages the wide range of products and services that are offered as benefits to AARP’s 38+ million members. The offers span health products, travel and leisure products, and life event services. Specific products include Medicare supplemental insurance; member discounts on rental cars, cruises, vacation packages and lodging; special offers on technology and gifts; pharmacy services; legal services; and long-term care insurance. AARP Services founded AARP Financial Incorporated, a subsidiary that manages AARP-endorsed financial products including AARP Funds. AARP Services develops new products, manages and markets products and services, creates and maintains partnership and sponsorship relationships, and develops and manages AARP’s Web site,

AARP Services founded AARP Financial Incorporated, a subsidiary that manages AARP-endorsed financial products including AARP Funds.


In an editorial column in the Los Angeles Times, critic Dale Van Atta says AARP does unauthorized lobbying for its membership, and lobbies against the best interests of its membership. Van Atta says that by lobbying for the above-mentioned Medicare Prescription Drug, Improvement, and Modernization Act, AARP leaders betrayed the membership.[6]

According to an Annenberg Public Policy Center report, critics have said AARP had a conflict of interest in supporting the Act, because AARP “derives income from the sale of health and life insurance policies,” by licensing its brand to insurance dealers such as New York Life Insurance Company[7] (dead link) and would benefit financially from passage of the legislation.[8] (dead link)

BusinessWeek magazine says that in the past questions have arisen about whether AARP's commercial interests may conflict with those of its membership, and characterizes many of the funds and insurance policies that AARP markets as providing considerably less benefit than seniors could get on their own.[9]

Ballot measures

Recent news

This section displays the most recent stories in a google news search for the term "AARP + American + Association + Retired + Persons"

All stories may not be relevant to this organization due to the nature of the search engine.

AARP News Feed

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Further reading

  • Trust Betrayed: Inside the AARP by Dale Van Atta, Regnery Publishing, ISBN 0-89526-485-4
  • The AARP: America's Most Powerful Lobby and the Clash of Generations, by Charles R. Morris, Crown, ISBN 0-8129-2753-2
  • Will America Grow Up Before It Grows Old? How the Coming Social Security Crisis Threatens You, Your Family, and Your Country, by Peter G. Peterson, Random House, ISBN 0-679-45256-7

See also

External links