An official of the antiunion National Right to Work Committee asked a federal judge here yesterday to force the Federal Election Commission to investigate further charges that the AFL-CIO and its member unions illegally contributed more than the permitted $5,000 to 24 candidates running for Congress this year.
Henry L. Walther, the Right to Work Committee's membership services director, charged in a suit filed in U.S. District Court that the FEC was remiss in dismissing complaints that he and the committee had filed about the contributions.
Walther's suit, similar to recent suits filed by the Right to Work Committee against the AFL-CIO and by Common Cause against the American Medical Association, centers on the use of affiliated groups to make campaign donations to the same candidates.
The election commission has ruled that individual unions that are members of the AFL-CIO, as well as the AFL-CIO's political action arm itself, can make up to $5,000 contriubtions to individual candidates.
Walther and the Right to Work Committee have charged that to allow such contributions violates the $5,000 limit from one organization on the grounds that the AFL-CIO actually coordinates the overall union political donation effort. Common Cause made a similar charge about the AMA and its state affiliates.
Walther charged in his suit that 24 congressional candidates each received between $15,800 and $45,150 from the AFL-CIO and its affiliated unions. His suit will be heard by Judge Gerhard A. Gesell.