The GOP's New ACORN? AARP.
On Monday, we reported on the House GOP's plans to target AARP in the health care reform debate. Republican leaders say AARP is supporting changes to the Medicare system included in Democratic health care reform bills because they would result in more sales of AARP-branded insurance. They claim that "backroom deals" between executives of the AARP and Democratic leadership -- deals the GOP say are designed to protect the executives' high salaries -- led to the group's pro-Medicare reform rhetoric.
Yesterday, the message gained traction the right wing commentariat. AARP flatly denies the claims and says it's beginning to feel a little like the GOP's new ACORN.
"Oh, absolutely," an AARP official told TPMDC. "They're using their standard methods to target us."
Yesterday, right wing blogs and publications picked up the story. Michelle Malkin retweetedthe House GOP talking points on the topic andHuman Events published a story echoing the GOP claims. Malkin and the conservative magazine focused on the corruption message, highlighting the "back-room" dealing.
The GOP has gone further than rhetoric as well. Rep. Dave Reichert (R-WA) claims to have launched an investigation into AARP in his home state. Reichert says his "ongoing" investigation focuses on whether AARP should be classified as an insurance company because of its revenue from royalties the group gets from licensing its brand for insurance products. AARP says it's not aware of the investigation, and Reichert suggested to reporters Monday that it was essentially stalled. But the question of whether AARP is an insurance company or not is at the center of the GOP messaging on the group