Atty. Gen. Edwin Meese III rejected charges that he wants to weaken federal affirmative-action rules and insisted that his goal is to protect businesses from overzealous officials who have "perverted" the program. Meese, who has been leading efforts within the Administration to alter a 1965 executive order that requires federal contractors to set goals for the hiring of minority-group members and women, said also in a televised interview that it is "simply not true" that most of Congress disagrees with his plan. Meese said that most businesses support his view. In an interview on CBS's "Face the Nation," Meese said that it would be a "gross exaggeration to say there's a controversy" between him and Labor Secretary William E. Brock III.