Representatives of several of the nation's most powerful business lobbying groups scheduled to meet today in an effort to develop a coalition to monitor the activites of what organizers call "psuedo-public-interest organizations."
The group, called the Ad Hoc Organizing Committee of the proposed National Committee for Responsible Public Interest Groups, was organized by the National Radio Broadcasters Association, which represents about 1,200 radio stations across the country.
Among the groups due to attend the organizing meeting are the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, the National Association of Manufactures, the Business Roundtable, the American Mining Congress, the Edison Electric Institute, and, to their representatives' surprise, the United States Auto Workers.
About a dozen groups were invited to the meeting by Abe J. Voron, head of the radio broadcasters group. Voron's letter to these organizations says "we in the radio industry are exposed to all of these distortions of the true public interest. We know that you are, too."
Voron said in his letter that the broadcasters group "has voted to utilize all the association's resources to act as the prime mover in organizing the coalition."
"We broadcasters have traditionally been among the most vigorous supporters of valid public-interest causes," Voron wrote.
"However, we have seen the proliferation of pseudo-public-interest organizations that seemed to represent only the few individuals who profit from the organization's existence, who seem dedicated to harassment and inhibition of progress, and who at times seem to represent undisclosed interests with very specific profit-motivated goals."
The letter also alleges unnamed groups "have hidden business interests camouflaged as public interests" and says that "we believe it is time that someone looked over the shoulder of some of these public interest groups."
Asked which group he was referring to in his organizing letter, Voron said in an interview that he is trying to save the "legitimate public-interest groups" from the "charlatans, black-mailers and hoodlums who have wrapped themselves in the cloak of the public interest."
Officials of the Chamber of Commerce and the Business Roundtable, groups that represent the nation's largest companies, said they would attend the meeting but knew little of the intentions of the organizers. A spokesman for the UAW said he doesn't know what is behind the group, but would attend the meeting to find out.
Several spokesmen for citizen groups in the broadcasting and consumer fields sharply criticized the industry meeting.