WASHINGTON — Twenty-eight black Republicans on Wednesday called for the resignation of Chairman Clarence M. Pendleton Jr. of the U.S. Civil Rights Commission because he supports suspending federal programs that reserve contracts for minority-owned businesses.
Pendleton's position "has forced us to conclude that he is not and cannot provide the commission with the . . . leadership necessary to carry on the business it was originally intended to carry on," the black Republicans said in a statement adopted at a meeting in Washington.
The blacks, many of whom have served in previous Republican administrations, said Pendleton's accusations of "rampant fraud and ineffectiveness" in federal minority set-aside programs "are at best grossly exaggerated and at worst absurd and irresponsible."
Pendleton, who is black, "has no constituency and no license to speak for black Republicans," the signers of the statement said.
They called on President Reagan's Cabinet members to affirm their commitment to minority set-aside programs.
"We call upon Mr. Pendleton to resign immediately from the post of chairman of the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights," the black Republicans concluded. "His statements have undercut the Administration's efforts to sustain a program that benefits minority programs."