07 Feb 2006 NLPC: AARP Funding is Wasteful and Improper
The National Legal and Policy Center is calling on Congress to cut funding for the AARP:
The National Legal and Policy Center yesterday sent a coalition letter to House Speaker Dennis Hastert asking Congress to end all federal subsidies to AARP.The letter was signed by Grover Norquist, President of Americans for Tax Reform; Paul Weyrich, National Chairman of Coalitions for America; Jim Martin, President of 60 Plus; J. William Lauderback, Executive Vice President of American Conservative Union; Thomas Schatz, President of the Council for Citizens Against Government Waste; Lewis Uhler, President of the National Tax-Limitation Committee; Terrence Scanlon, President of Capital Research Center; and Mary M. Martin, Chairman of the Board of the Seniors Coalition.
NLPC organized the letter after it published a special report, “How the Federal Government Subsidizes AARP,” that examined the source of AARP’s federal support. The study found that federal funding accounted for $83 million, or about 10 percent, of AARP’s annual revenue of $878 million. AARP’s total assets are worth $1.6 billion.
“It is ridiculous that an organization as rich and as partisan as AARP gets tens of millions of taxpayer dollars each year,” says John Carlisle, NLPC Policy Director and the author of the special report.
AARP aggressively pushes a liberal political agenda on a range of issues. Last year, it spent at least $10 million to block President Bush’s attempt to reform the financially-troubled Social Security program through a system of private retirement accounts.
Carlisle notes that, “As a private, nonprofit group, AARP has the right to take any stand it chooses on Social Security or any other public policy issue. However, AARP does not have the right to expect taxpayers to foot the bill to help advance its political agenda.”
In addition to the impropriety of AARP receiving public subsidies, there are serious questions about the merits of the group’s federal grants. The large majority of AARP’s federal money, $75 million, comes from a Department of Labor job-training program called the Senior Community Service Employment Program (SCSEP) which has a checkered history of wasteful spending and unaccountability.
SCSEP purports to train low income seniors for gainful employment by placing them in temporary, minimum-wage jobs at private nonprofits and public agencies. However, SCSEP is nothing more than a welfare program masquerading as a job-training program. In its “Budget Options” report to Congress in 2003, the Congressional Budget Office recommended that SCSEP should be eliminated…
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