Advocacy Groups Can’t Be Barred From Charity Drive, Judge Rules
A federal judge on Friday barred the government from ousting legal and political advocacy groups from the $120- million annual federal charity drive, saying the Reagan Administration may be illegally excluding the groups because of their liberal views.
The preliminary injunction by District Judge Joyce Hens Green allows the National Assn. for the Advancement of Colored People Legal Defense and Education Fund, the Planned Parenthood Federation of America, the Sierra Club Legal Defense Fund and several other organizations to be included in this year’s Combined Federal Campaign.
Some 4 million federal workers contribute an estimated $120 million to charities each year through the campaign, which conservatives have attacked because of the inclusion of liberal groups.
The Supreme Court last year upheld new Office of Personnel Management regulations dropping the groups because of the government’s need “to avoid the appearance of political favoritism.”
But the high court sent back to Judge Green the question of whether the organizations were being excluded solely because of their political views.
In a 19-page opinion that prevents the agency’s regulations from being implemented, Green noted the Supreme Court opinion and said: “It expressly stated that (the government’s) ‘purported concern to avoid controversy excited by particular groups may conceal a bias against the viewpoint advanced by the speakers.’ ”
Officials at the Office of Personnel Management said no decision had been made on whether to appeal the injunction.
The campaign has been a lucrative source of revenue for several of the organizations since they joined in 1981. Legal defense funds took in $2 million from federal workers nationwide in 1983 and Planned Parenthood has gained $700,000 in each of the last two giving seasons.