GPO Chief of Staff Andrew Sherman Responds to Commentary from Vincent Mallardi
On June 15, the U.S. Government Publishing Office (GPO) announced that Quad/Graphics Inc. agreed to pay $750,000 to the United States to resolve allegations that the firm violated security requirements involving personally identifiable information during the production of contract work for the U.S. Government Publishing Office (GPO).
In his response below, Andrew Sherman, GPO chief of staff, responds to Vincent Mallardi's commentary on the matter "Stay Away From the Big Broker That May Make You Broke! The GPO."
I'm writing to respond to an article by Mr. Vincent Mallardi posted recently by Printing Impressions. The article is so breathtakingly full of misinformation, canards, and other falsehoods that it's difficult to know where to begin.
Suffice to say that the settlement between the Government and Quad/Graphics announced recently by both the Department of Justice and GPO's Office of the Inspector General, related to a contract violation concerning a failure to adequately protect the personally identifiable information (PII) of American citizens in the production of Cost of Living Adjustment Notices on behalf of the Social Security Administration. Mr. Mallardi may not think so, but we believe — and the law requires — that PII must be protected from improper disclosure, and this was in fact a requirement of the GPO's contract with Quad/Graphics in the production of these documents. The GPO's Office of the Inspector General takes its job seriously, and following an investigation, referred its findings to the Justice Department. As part of the settlement, Quad/Graphics has taken measures to ensure this problem doesn't happen again.
As to the other claims made by Mr. Mallardi — that GPO is "sullied," "some say corrupt," has "no accountability," "loses money," "has a monopoly," charges "any price it determines," buys its work from "hapless underperforming private companies," "outsources to China including for the e-chip" used in passport production, has solicited "bribes," engages in "shakedowns" and "extortion," and so on — these are the product of what one can only call a vivid imagination that is untethered from reality. For those who are interested, GPO's operations and our accountability — particularly the fact that we have been operating in the black for many years now — are fully transparent via our website at gpo.gov and our social media presence on Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, and elsewhere.
We are audited annually by an independent third party and we routinely receive clean opinions. Our operations are overseen not only by an independent IG but our House and Senate legislative oversight and appropriations committees. As to passport production, we work in tandem with the State Department's Office of Diplomatic Security, and all materials we use are purchased through a secure supply chain, including the chips which are made right here in the USA. And perhaps someone will please tell Mr. Mallardi that the title of "Public Printer" was abolished two years ago by the same act of Congress that changed GPO's name to the Government Publishing Office.
Regrettably, what is sullied by Mr. Mallardi's article are the reputations of the thousands of private sector printers who have worked in partnership with the GPO in one of the Government's longest-lived and most successful procurement programs, enabling the Government to meet the Federal printing and information needs of the American people at a highly competitive price. We rely upon and deeply value our relationship with the printing industry, and to disparage the printers we work with as "hapless" and "underperforming" does them a great disservice. We are proud of our association with the American printing industry and look forward to continuing to work with them in carrying out our mission of Keeping America Informed.
Chief of Staff
U.S. Government Publishing Office