Amidst coverage of its involvement with American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) and pressure from advocacy groups, AARP on Thursday told Politico that it will not renew its membership with the conservative group.
“We will not renew our membership to ALEC. AARP will continue to explore avenues that will enhance our interaction with organizations and elected officials that represent different perspectives in order to further the issues important to Americans 50+ and their families,” AARP said in a statement to Politico’s Playbook, after the outlet asked if the organization would renew its membership with ALEC.
The decision from AARP follows pressure for the group to nix its association with ALEC, a conservative organization that drafts model legislation. Several companies have ditched their ALEC memberships over the last few years over the group’s climate change denial.
On Tuesday, the Alliance for Retired Americans wrote in a statement that they were “deeply disappointed” that AARP was an ALEC sponsor, writing, “ALEC is a major force behind the rise of state Voter ID laws, which disproportionately hurt seniors and take away their ability to cast their votes, and have opposed efforts to rein in prescription drug prices.”
And on Thursday, several advocacy groups, including the American Federation of State, County & Municipal Employees (AFSCME) and ClimateTruth.org, sent a letter to AARP, calling on AARP to disassociate itself with ALEC.
“By partnering with ALEC, you have allowed it to use the powerful AARP brand to lend credibility to legislation harmful to seniors that is introduced in statehouses across the country,” the groups wrote in the letter obtained by Politico. “In addition, by sponsoring ALEC, AARP is endorsing an organization that brings corporate lobbyists and elected officials from around the country together to write anti-senior, anti-family legislation in a process that locks out the public and subverts our democratic process.”
The letter also revealed that AARP said its “interest in supporting ALEC was to gain better access to legislators.”
“We reject this explanation. AARP is one of the largest non-profit, social welfare membership organizations in the country, and your brand and reputation give you tremendous access to and credibility with lawmakers on all levels in every state,” the letter reads.