Stark Calls GOP Investigation of AARP ‘Witch Hunt’

By Steven Tavares

A large segment of Rep. Pete Stark’s constituency is seniors with a hearing aid tuned to the discussion of health care reform. As one of the most influential members of congress regarding the issue it is no surprise he called an investigation by the chairman of the House Ways and Means Health Committee into the non-profit status of AARP, a “political witch hunt.”

Rep. Wally Herger, who took control of the sub-committee from Stark after Republicans gained the majority in the House, issued a report last week raising questions over AARP’s use of funds to back provisions of the new health care reform act. Herger questioned whether the influential group is using its non-profit tax exemption to benefit its own bottom line.

“We could ask questions about whether there is a broader problem with the tax code in this area,” Stark said Friday on the House floor. “But, the Republicans do not want to ask those questions today. Why? That’s easy. Those groups opposed the Affordable Care Act and AARP supported it. This is nothing more than a political witch hunt to punish an organization that spoke out in favor of health reform.”

Stark also said he too has raised question about AARP in the past, but said their activism is no different than other political non-profit groups. He noted various organizations back by the Tea Party and Karl Rove as examples. AARP’s seal of approval is a very lucrative marketing apparatus for attracting seniors to purchase its branded goods.

There is more than a whiff of hypocrisy over the Republican investigation of AARP, according to Stark. In 2003, the GOP lauded the AARP for its support of the Medicare prescription drug bill backed by President Bush. “None of them were questioning the motives of AARP then,” Stark said.

In a op-ed piece,Herger denied his committee is using AARP to discredit the group so influential in issues regarding its member, most of whom are 50 years and older. “Contrary to the accusations of some people, this is not a political exercise,” said Herger. “To the contrary, we have an obligation to ensure that the American people, and specifically America’s seniors, know and understand the real AARP so they can decide if their interests are being represented.”

Categories: AARP, health care, Pete Stark, Wally Herger, Ways and Means

8 replies

  1. AARP is nothing but a bunch of retired bureaucrats advocating for more government. What a load of crap.


  2. Anonymous hates older people, unless an organization which represents the interests of older and retired persons should allow the destruction of Social Security, Medicare/Medicaid, access to more affordable and higher quality health care insurance, and other government programs which serve the people they represent.

    What should AARP do, Anonymous? Look away from the facts and acquiesce to the Randians currently in charge of the House of Representtatives?

    What would you do if you were in charge of AARP, Anonymous? What would be your organization's priorities?


  3. AARP is only out to perpetuate the myth that the Government is out to care for the elderly.


  4. It is difficult to engage in “the pursuit of happiness” when your 401K crashed due to no fault of your own, other services are being slashed or eliminated, and you could end up out in the street, forced to eat cat food.

    I believe our government is duty bound to assist the least of us. Our country, with the richest GDP in the world, should not be allowed to look the other way as older people are left destitute.

    Anyone who dares to criticize AARP for sharing this view is a true radical.


  5. Ray, you are a moron. And give the “forced to eat cat food” bullshit a rest. Only inconsiderate radicals like yourself spew such hatred and venom.


  6. Manny all you do is spew hatred and venom in your opinions. Give us some facts if you can instead of calling people names.


  7. It is getting a little old with the anonymous posters taking up bandwidth with all their negative and unproductive remarks. A good majority of the postings are just vile and only highlights the general ignorance of those who read this blog.


  8. Using data from MRI scans, researchers at the University College London found that self-described liberals have a larger anterior cingulate cortex–a gray matter of the brain associated with understanding complexity. Meanwhile, self-described conservatives are more likely to have a larger amygdala, an almond-shaped area that is associated with fear and anxiety.


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