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House GOP escalates probe of AARP health care deals

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A key House committee has officially demanded documents from the powerful senior citizens lobby AARP as part of a probe of its role in promoting President Obama's health care law, elevating the matter to an official House investigation.

The House Ways and Means Committee on Monday demanded AARP turn over email and other documents that Republicans say could shed light on whether the group went against the wishes of its own members in order to back the administration in its efforts to build support for the 2010 Affordable Care Act.

The committee could subpoena the documents if AARP doesn't respond by July 9.

"We are still reviewing the issues raised in both letters and we hope to respond soon," AARP spokeswoman Allyson Funk told The Washington Times.

Rep. Wally Herger, the California Republican who chairs the Ways and Means health subcommittee, said AARP might have supported the law because the group stood to make $1 billion from increased policy sales under the Medigap program if the law went into effect.

"In light of the newly discovered significant and glaring discrepancy between AARP's actions and responses to our previous congressional investigation, which found that AARP stands to see a financial windfall of at least $1 billion over the next ten years, please provide the following information no later than July 9, 2012," he wrote.

The demands have come after another House committee's investigation revealed extensive deal-making between the White House and a number of industry groups, most notably pharmaceutical manufacturers, in the fight to get the health care law through Congress.

Last week, two senators and two House members asked AARP to explain whether it lobbied for the law on behalf of the White House, contributed to a political action committee supporting the law or financed ads taken out to praise supportive lawmakers. This week's letter elevates that request to an official House committee demand.

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