The Office of Personnel Management plans to put new rules in place next year that will limit participation in the annual Combined Federal Campaign to "traditional" charities and exclude legal defense funds and advocacy groups such as the Planned Parenthood Federation of America and the NAACP Legal Defense Fund.
At the same time, OPM Director Constance Horner said yesterday that the agency will not change the rules for this year's campaign. Many charities had complained that changing the rules so close to the start of the 1985-86 campaign would disrupt their fund-raising schedules and cause chaos in the program.
The question of how to deal with the government's annual charity drive was one of the earliest matters on Horner's agenda following her swift confirmation just before the Senate recessed in August. Her predecessor, acting OPM Director Loretta Cornelius, had promised that the rules would not be changed this year, but Horner, at her confirmation hearings, refused to make such a pledge.
Yesterday, Horner said she would wait a year "with utmost reluctance" before implementing the new rules.
"Deferring implementation until the 1986 campaign strikes a balance between our obligation to move forward with implementation of President Reagan's executive order, and our interest in avoiding a major disruption to the 1985 campaign, the planning of which is already well along," she said.
A 1983 Reagan executive order limited the campaign to the "traditional" health and welfare charities, and then-OPM Director Donald J. Devine quickly issued rules to implement Reagan's order. But those rules were challenged in court by groups such as the NAACP Legal Defense Fund, which said the limits violated free speech.
The Supreme Court ruled in July that the government could limit the campaign to traditional charities and bar advocacy groups. But it asked a lower court to review whether advocacy groups had been barred for reasons other than a desire to make the campaign less cumbersome.