We were then told that my next grading for Sandan would cost something like $500 - this was mostly to get the certificate from Aikikai. Of course I said that is stupid, I don't want one of their certificates, have never needed one, and don't think we need them at all. Eventually the club said they would pay for it, I told them not to.
The point is this - what changes as you get higher rank? For a start it becomes more political, who you know, how well you get on with people - that sort of thing.
Yah, people are political, deal with it.
I sympathize with the point of view. For me, I value my ranks for who gave them to me, not the parent organization... In fact I spent some time arguing with my current teacher that he needed to sign my dan certificate, or at least stamp it. Didn't get anywhere, but it was a good fight.
OTOH, I have no problem supporting organizations I believe in. If your seniors think affiliation with the Aikikai is worth it, maybe it is. And it's not necessarily wrong for people higher up in the ranking to support the organization more than those lower down.