AARP, the American Association of Retired Persons, is a membership organization for seniors. It operates as a non-profit advocate for its members, and is one of the most powerful lobbying groups in the United States. According to Open Secrets, AARP spent $8.71 million on its lobbying efforts in 2016. While it was originally named the American Association of Retired Persons, it officially changed its name to "AARP" (pronounced one letter at a time, "ay ay ar pee") 1999 to reflect that it was no longer focus solely on American retirees. For the most part, members must be age 50 or older and pay dues.
AARP supports a number of progressive and leftist causes. For example, it is a corporate sponsor of the National Urban League, and a 2017 Human Rights Campaign Dinner sponsor. Both the Urban League and HRC favor same-sex marriage. AARP also sponsored the National LGBTQ Task Force’s Creating Change Conference in 2016, and is a corporate sponsor of the National Women’s Law Center, both of which support the right to same-sex marriage.
AARP also contributes to UnidosUS -- the ethnic solidarity organization formerly known as the National Council of La Raza -- as well as the League of United Latin American Citizens (LULAC). Both of these organizations advocate sanctuary cities.
In the 1990s, Republican Sen. Alan K. Simpson, as chairman of the Senate Finance Subcommittee on Social Security, Pensions, and Family Policy, questioned AARP’s tax-exempt status in congressional hearings. While congressional investigations did not find evidence to alter AARP’s tax-exempt status, Simpson remained "troubled by AARP's practices" and referred to the organization as “the biggest marketing operation in America and money-maker" and an organization whose practices are "the greatest abuse of American generosity I witnessed in my time in the U.S. Senate.”
Charity Watch rated the AARP Foundation overall at 81.07 out of 100 possible points for fiscal year 2014, but gave the organization a Financial score of only 73.53 out of 100 for the same period.
AARP headquarters, Washington DC