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Teresa Arnold responds to candidate use of AARP logo


I've received numerous calls and emails about a campaign ad with the AARP logo. I thought I would set the record straight.

The ad in question did originally use the AARP copyright logo without our permission or knowledge. I called the campaign when it was reported to me and put into place our procedure which could have included a legal cease and desist order. We did immediately release a public statement to the press and repeatedly on social media indicating that we had nothing to do with the ad in any way.

AARP does not and will never endorse candidates or parties. However, campaigns across the country have used our name in ads as a tactic that we have no legal recourse against unless it is an illegal use of a trademark.

What you are now seeing in the new ads is a white bold typeface AARP which is made to look like an endorsement while not technically being copyright or trademark infringement. In no way is this an endorsement on the part of AARP. Politics is a rough sport and unfortunately during this election cycle, a candidate decided to use the AARP brand in a deceiving way without our knowledge or consent to score political points. It’s the first time in my career at AARP that we have had this issue in South Carolina.

 We did coin the phrase “Age Tax” in 2017, to describe how the insurance practice of age-rating—charging more for older policyholders—unfairly shifted a heavier burden for healthcare costs unto to older Americans already struggling to pay their premiums. However, we never used this term to negatively target any candidate or party at that time as the commercial suggests.

 Our election webpage has more information about this at the bottom of the page including an op-ed piece that I wrote and appeared in upstate newspapers.

 If I can help answer any questions, please feel free to contact me. 

Teresa Arnold
AARP SC state director

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