This article is part of the Center for Media & Democracy's spotlight on front groups and corporate spin.
The Seniors Coalition (TSC) is a front group founded with the support of right-wing direct mail specialist Richard Viguerie, financed by the pharmaceutical industry and which was once investigated by the New York State attorney general's office for participating in a "pattern of fraud and abuse."
The Seniors Coalition was formed in 1990 by Viguerie and Dan C. Alexander, a Mobile, Ala., school board official who had been convicted of extorting kickbacks on school construction projects and later served four years of a 12-year prison term. For some of the time Alexander was in prison, he and his wife drew $23,000 a month in “consulting” fees from the Seniors Coalition while their teenage daughter served as its president. According to the Progressive Populist, "the Seniors Coalition is one of three 'seniors' groups -- the others are the 60 Plus Association and the United Seniors Association -- started with help from Richard Viguerie, the right-wing direct-mail king." People's Weekly World writes that although TSC is the "most dangerous," "given that they all rely on the computer-based mailings of Viguerie, each can send off hundreds of thousands of pieces of mail to support this or that demand."
According to its website, the Seniors Coalition (TSC) was "founded as a public advocacy group during the fight to repeal the Medicare Catastrophic Coverage Act in 1989." It goes on to say that TSC "is the nation’s leading free-market senior education and advocacy organization with a membership of more than 4 million seniors. The mission of The Seniors Coalition (TSC) is to protect the quality of life and economic well-being that older Americans have earned while supporting common sense solutions to the challenges of the future. To that end, TSC and its spokesperson, Grandma Green, lobby government at both the federal and state level. Furthermore, Grandma Green periodically travels the country in her RV, the StraightTalk Express, to inform senior citizens on current issues and to listen to their concerns."
Although TSC says that it has four million supporters, "the AARP found that as of 2001 TSC didn't list any revenue from membership dues on its tax return," and as of 2001, "65% of The Seniors Coalition funds [were] spent on fundraising appeals, and a further 16% of expenses were incurred in direct lobbying of officials." Instead, "TSC, investigated by Congress in 1992 for mail fraud, is funded by the Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America. Indeed, in a campaign contribution made June 12, 2003, Thomas Moore identifies himself as the Director of Federal Affairs for PhRMA, but is identified as Director of Operations for The Seniors Coalition on TSC's website. Moore also attended a press conference of Wisconsin Governor Scott McCallum as a representative of PhRMA on January 31, 2002."
The official website writes that, "TSC has been a consistent and strong advocate for the passage of the prescription drug benefit contained in the Medicare Modernization Act; promotes real medical liability reforms; supports passage of an asbestos trust fund to provide compensation to those truly sick; advocates protections in telecommunications to minimize taxes and surcharges to wireless phone products for seniors; and strongly works to protect the value of the existing Medicare benefit package for seniors" and calls itself "the responsible alternative to AARP."
Besides some U.S. government sites, their link page links to: 
- Generations Together, a business-funded group that promotes Social Security privatization
- Heritage Foundation, a right-wing think tank
- FreedomWorks, described on Alternet as the Wall Street front group that helped launch the Tea Party Movement
- Citizens Against Government Waste, a group that has campaigned on behalf of the tobacco industry and in favor of Microsoft and against open source software
Board of Directors
As of 2010:
- Joanne T. Leon, Chairman, Mobile, Alabama
- Joseph L. Bridges, President & Chief Executive Officer, Hartville, Ohio
- Joel C. Harris, Mobile, Alabama
1250 Connecticut Avenue
N.W., Suite 200
Washington, D.C. 20036
Phone: (202) 261-3594
Email: tsc AT senior.org
Related SourceWatch articles
- The "1995 Lobbying Hall of Shame," Multinational Monitor, January/February 2006.
- "Drug industry-financed Seniors Coalition mails warning against imported prescription drugs," Business World, June 18, 2003.
- "For Whom Are They Balancing the Budget," Molly Ivins, The Progressive Populist, 1995.
- "The Nation's Health and Worker's Safety Seniors: focal point of struggle," People's Weekly World, March 25, 1995.
- "About The Seniors Coalition," Official TSC Website.
- "Blog Posting," Irregular Times, November 25, 2003.
- Sites they link to, The Seniors Coalition, accessed October 2010.
- Board of Directors, The Seniors Coalition, accessed October 2010.
- Seniors Coalition lobbying expenses, Open Secrets, accessed October 2010.
- "Seniors' Coalition Applauds Personal Account Provisions Recommended by Bush Social Security Panel", SeniorJournal.com, December 11, 2001.
- Michael Scherer, "The Artful Codger: Trashing the AARP with Grandma Green", Mother Jones, July/August 2005.
- Profile of TSC, Public Citizen, accessed October 2010.