NCPA - National Center for Policy Analysis


December 9, 2005

AARP stirs considerable anger among conservatives for its aggressive advocacy of liberal causes. Of course, as a private nonprofit organization it has the right to take any stand it chooses on a public policy issue. However, the fact that AARP pursues its political agenda using federal dollars especially angers taxpayers, says John Carlisle, director of policy at the National Legal and Policy Center.


  • The AARP 2004 annual report showed that of the $878 million in revenue AARP received that year, $83 million came from the federal government through a variety of grants.
  • Charlie Jarvis, Chairman and CEO of USA Next, estimates that since 1989, AARP appears to have taken over a billion dollars in taxpayer money in the form of federal grants.

Five cabinet level agencies dispense grants to AARP. For the year ending December 31, 2003, when AARP received $68 million in federal funding:

  • The Department of Labor gave AARP $63.3 million for its Senior Community Service Employment Program, a job training program for low-income senior citizens.
  • The IRS gave AARP $3.4 million as part of the Tax Counseling for the Elderly program, which provides volunteers to help seniors complete their federal taxes.
  • The Department of Housing and Urban Development gave $626,279 for its Housing Counseling Assistance Program.
  • The Department of Health and Human Services gave $444,493 for various special programs, typically legal assistance and Medicare fraud prevention programs.
  • The Department of Justice gave $15,000 for telemarketing fraud prevention.

If AARP is truly committed to its job training program it should pay for it from its own extensive resources. The time is long overdue to cut off federal subsidies to AARP and end the unjust practice of publicly funding a highly partisan and controversial interest group, says Carlisle.

Source: John Carlisle, "How the Government Subsidizes AARP," Human Events, December 8, 2005.

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