In an article yesterday on the Combined Federal Campaign, Planned Parenthood's explanation for a suit it has filed to continue as an international charity was omitted inadvertently. Spokesmen for the group say half the money raised by its national organization is spent overseas.
The AFL-CIO is furious that the National Right to Work Legal Defense Fund got in. The National Right to Life people, who just got in themselves, want Planned Parenthood out. And Planned Parenthood, still in although it almost got kicked out, has gone to court because it is no longer as in as it used to be.
Being in, in this case, means being included in the government's $87 million Combined Federal Campaign, an annual charity drive that has sparked some rather uncharitable battles for the contributions of federal workers.
In the past several years a number of advocacy groups have successfully sued to be included in the campaign, arguing that their work is just as worthy as more traditional charities. The latest battle has a more ideological edge to it, and the long controversy over who should be in and who should be out has never been more heated.
Donald J. Devine, director of the Office of Personnel Management and a Reagan appointee with impeccable conservative credentials, last month certified the National Right to Work Legal Defense Fund, a probusiness, antiunion group, the antiabortion National Right to Life Educational Fund and 109 other organizations for participation in this year's campaign. Including Planned Parenthood among those groups, he overruled a Devine-appointed eligibility committee, which had recommended the organization's exclusion.
Devine said all the groups met the criterion for participation in the campaign, to which federal workers may contribute through payroll deductions.
But Devine's decision has brought howls of protest from prolabor and antiabortion camps.
AFL-CIO president Lane Kirkland called Devine's admission of the Right to Work group, which opposes compulsory union membership, "an insult to President John F. Kennedy," who set up the charity campaign in 1961. The labor leader said federal workers were being asked to contribute to an organization whose goals are contrary to their own interests.
And at a meeting this week of 36 unions who represent federal workers, Kirkland said organized labor would fight to have the Right to Work group's eligibility rescinded and would urge federal employes, some of whom are said to believe the group promotes the creation of jobs, not to contribute to the organization.
OPM spokesman Pat Korten said yesterday that while no prolabor group is included on the government's charity list, there is nothing to preclude a labor organization from qualifying for the campaign under current guidelines. An AFL-CIO spokesman said in New York that prolabor forces didn't want to have to qualify as a charity in order to prove that antilabor forces are not a charity.
Also unhappy is the National Right to Life Committee, which, though newly admitted to the federal charity circle, wants Planned Parenthood excluded. The group has complained Planned Parenthood is "the largest promoter and provider of abortion in the country" and as such "has no place" in the government's charity drive.
Devine, an ardent abortion foe, said he was "reluctantly" allowing Planned Parenthood to continue in the campaign because he felt it met OPM's eligibility requirements. But the National Right to Life group has challenged that assessment and called on OPM to investigate what it says are Planned Parenthood's numerous violations of government solicitation restrictions.
Planned Parenthood, which has denied the Right to Life assertions, has its own problems with Devine and this week took the OPM director to court to try to overturn his reclassification of the family planning group. OPM has shifted the group, which raised about $800,000 in last year's charity drive, from the International Services Agencies campaign category to the National Service Agencies category, a move Planned Parenthood says will cost it about $200,000 in charity contributions.
In a letter to attorneys for Planned Parenthood, Devine said the organization's activities are "significantly domestic in scope" and that only 10.6 percent of its revenues are spent on international services. He said Planned Parenthood will still be entitled to all the contributions specifically earmarked for it by federal donors.
A Planned Parenthood spokesman said yesterday that his organization is composed of 190 separate affiliates around the country.