I recently received a packet in the mail from the Association of Mature American Citizens (AMAC), which appears to be a “politically conservative” alternative to the AARP. It seems that some folks believe that the AARP sometimes uses its position of representing the interests of millions of “senior” Americans to support political agendas that may or may not be in the best interests of its constituents. I haven’t looked into the political positions of the AARP recently, but as a senior citizen (who isn’t a member of either organization), I find it unfortunate that my demographic age group, with its unique interests and needs, may find our political clout diminished by its inability to speak with one voice in Washington.
By now, many of you will have heard about the letter sent out Monday to the membership of NAPFA by that organization’s chairman, Bob Gerstemeier, and its CEO, Geoff Brown (see Charles Paikert’s story on Financial-Planning.com). In the letter, the duo announced that NAPFA is considering moving the location of its October annual conference out of Indianapolis, in response to Indiana’s new law, the Religious Freedom and Restoration Act.
Now, I’m not going to use this forum to spout my political opinions (although I maybe the only journalist in America who feels any such constraints): that’s not what this blog is about. But I have written many times before about my belief that it’s a big mistake for industry associations to take political positions unless it’s on financial issues that affect the markets, the economy, and/or the well-being of advisory clients (such as the fiduciary standard debate).
Consequently, I can’t help but feel that NAPFA is asking for trouble.
Gerstemeier and Brown’s letter stated that Indiana’s Religious Freedom and Restoration Act has been “openly cited as the legalization of discrimination against lesbians, gays, bisexuals and transgendered individuals in the state of Indiana … We are extremely concerned about [the Indiana law’s] potential impact on the LGBT community. We are reviewing our event contracts and considering the impact this bill will have on our fall conference. We want to affirm our commitment that every member should experience our conference without fear of discrimination.”