Congress probes AARP's reform lobbying

AARP, which was one of the prominent institutional backers of last year's healthcare reform bill, is under scrutiny from Congress for the first time since the mid-1990s, according to the Fiscal Times.

The House Ways and Means Committee has launched an investigation of AARP, particularly in the way it uses its lobbying power to advance its business that sells supplemental and Part D coverage to Medicare beneficiaries. A hearing is scheduled for April 1.

"It is important to better understand how AARP's insurance business overlaps with its advocacy efforts and whether such overlap is appropriate," said a joint statement issued by the health and oversight subcommittee, chaired respectively by Rep. Wally Herger (R-Calif.) and Rep. Charles Boustany (R-La.)

In a statement posted on the AARP website, the organization said it had nothing to hide. "AARP has a long-standing and good working relationship with Congress and we look forward to appearing before the committee on behalf of our millions of members, and the entire 50+ population," the statement said. "AARP is committed to transparency."

The Senate Finance Committee investigated AARP in 1995, but no significant developments came out of the investigation.

For more:
- read the Fiscal Times article
- here's the AARP statement