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The Senate confirmed Bob Tapella as the public printer on Thursday, bringing him only a few signatures away from officially taking over as head of the Government Printing Office. [IMGCAP(1)]

The GPO hasn’t had an official public printer since January, when Bruce James stepped down. President Bush nominated Tapella for the position in May, and acting Public Printer William Turri has headed the agency in the interim.

Now the White House simply has to sign the confirmation papers before Tapella takes the position, said GPO spokesman Gary Somerset. Members have praised Tapella for his experience and suitability for the position, and his nomination easily passed through the confirmation process.

Tapella currently is chief of staff at the GPO. He was a strategic communications consultant immediately prior to working at the GPO, and he once worked in the Office of Member Services for the House Oversight Committee (now known as the House Administration Committee).

Legal Fees. Rep. William Jefferson (D-La.) has doled out $22,000 from his legal defense fund to the law firm Trout Cacheris, his first payment from the account in 2007.

According to an amended filing submitted to the House ethics committee Oct. 1, Jefferson’s legal fund raised $16,250 from July to September, bringing its total receipts to $159,050 since its inception.

Among those donating funds are Ways and Means Chairman Charlie Rangel’s (D-N.Y.) campaign committee and his leadership PAC, each giving $5,000. Del. Donna Christian-Christensen (D-V.I.) also gave $1,000.

In addition to the payment for attorney Robert Trout, Jefferson also paid about $2,700 to New Orleans-based Harvey-Hauser Printing.

While Jefferson also can use his campaign funds to pay his legal bills, his most recent filing showed just $30,300 in cash on hand as of June 30 and more than $262,000 in debt.

The Louisianan is scheduled to appear in federal court in January 2008 on corruption charges. He pleaded not guilty in June to a 16-count indictment.

— Emily Yehle and Jennifer Yachnin

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