60 Plus Association

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An advocacy group for elder Americans, positioning itself as the "conservative alternative to the AARP, formerly the American Association for Retired Persons", the 60 Plus Association was formed in 1992. [1] Comparing the home pages of this group with that of AARP, 60 Plus contains direct criticism of the Obama Administration[2] (e.g., a news release headlined "President Obama Misleads Americans Obamacare Causes Federal Employees Premiums to Rise",[3] while AARP's mentions voting and political news but makes no accusations.[4]

Background

Founder and Chairman James “Jim” Martin coined the phrase “death tax” during the debate over the Estate Tax.

Recent activity

With a recent surge of activity, questions have been raised about it being broader in political intent than a senior citizen group, and in fact a vehicle for Republican campaigning without the need to have current reporting of donors. In 2006 and 2007, it reported income of under $2 million, but has placed at least $5 million in 2010 political advertising. ""The 60 Plus Association is funded by five and a half million citizen activists and others," said Tom Kise, the group's main spokesman.

"There are five and a half million supporters of 60 Plus," said Carl Forti, who handles the group's PR and media activity and once worked for the National Republican Congressional Committee. "And that's where the funding comes from."[5]

It has 501(c)(4) tax status, which designates it as a nonprofit to which contributions are not tax-deductible, but the donors are subject only to limited disclosure. [6]. Along with Americans for Job Security , it is spending $5 million specifically to defeat Democratic members of the House of Representatives. Under the authority of the Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission decision in the Supreme Court, "the groups are specifically calling for the Democrats' defeat. Before the ruling, such groups had to couch their ad language as 'issue ads' and had to beware of running up against Federal Election Commission rules." Targets include Arizona incumbent representatives Ann Kirkpatrick, Harry Mitchell and Gabrielle Giffords; Florida’s Allen Boyd, Suzanne Kosmas and Alan Grayson; Pennsylvania’s Kathy Dahlkemper and Paul Kanjorski; Indiana’s Joe Donnelly, and Ohio’s John Boccieri. In Tennessee, it is advertising against Roy Herron, a candidate for an open seat. [7]

It has some relationship with the Tea Party movement. Tom Whitmore, a D.C. "Tea Party activist who appeared in an ad earlier this year, helped write the script for the ad he appeared in. "They had our contact info," he says, "and asked if any of us knew any concerned seniors. I said, 'I'm one!' " "[5]

Martin joined the Tea Party Express Bus Tour, where he criticized Rep. Steve Cohen for “shamelessly pander[ing] to the African Americans in his congressional district by charging the Tea Party folks with being ‘racist,’”.[8] The Tea Party Express has been expelled from the national coalition, and has been sharply criticized by Tea Party Patriots.

References

  1. About Us, 60 Plus Association
  2. Home Page, 60 Plus Association. Retrieved on 8 October 2010
  3. President Obama Misleads Americans; Obamacare Causes Federal Employees Premiums to Rise. Retrieved on 8 October 2010
  4. AARP. Retrieved on 8 October 2010
  5. 5.0 5.1 {David Weigel (7 October 2010), "Mystery Millions: The 60 Plus Association's conservative message isn't new, but its wealth is.", Slate
  6. After Citizens United: A Look into the Pro-Corporate Players in American Politics, People for the American Way
  7. Jim Kuhnhenn (9 September 2010), "Two GOP-leaning groups spending $5 million in ads", Huffington Post
  8. Jim Martin (15 April 2010), Exposing The Phony Race Card, 60 Plus Association. Retrieved on 8 October 2010