Blistering Report on the GPO Issued by Nader’s Center for Study of Responsive Law
• Increase funding for the Government Printing Office. The GPO is woefully underfunded to achieve the admirable goal of “keeping America informed.” The GPO needs adequate funding to reestablish a robust print operation as well as to expand and improve its online presence.
• The GPO should reevaluate its print procurement procedures. The current system rewards outsourcing to companies that exploit low-cost labor, creating the façade of efficiency. The GPO should institute a pay equity clause in government contracts to ensure equal pay is provided for equal government work performed in both the public and private sector.
• The Joint Committee on Printing, the GPO’s oversight body in Congress, has been stagnant, ineffective, and unmoving. To change this, the independent annual appropriations for the Joint Committee on Printing, chaired by Congressman Gregg Harper and vice-chaired by Senator Charles Schumer, should be reinstated. Public hearings should be scheduled on more frequent intervals to assess the performance of the GPO in meeting the needs of the government and the public.
• GPO publications are expensive in part due to low demand for print materials caused by online access and abysmal GPO promotion and marketing. GPO should extend its sales beyond the online bookstore and implement a need-based acquisition approach that allows those with lower incomes adequate access to printed government publications.
• The GPO should use print to ensure essential archives are safe from unexpected failures or technological obsolescence.
• GPO should embrace a document disposal policy that ensures the protection of valuable government publications.
“This vision emphasizes the vital role that the Government Printing Office could play in keeping all of America informed, not just those with online access. There are great benefits in making information available online; but if we shift in this direction oblivious to the unintended consequences, we risk losing an invaluable resource,” concluded Nader.