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GPO Head Unsure Why He’s Being Forced to Leave

Updated: 7:16 p.m.

Nearly 24 hours after the Senate failed to confirm the head of the Government Printing Office, William Boarman still doesn’t know what led to the circumstances that will force him to step down by the year’s end.

Boarman, the 26th public printer to head the GPO, was installed in the post in a recess appointment by President Barack Obama, and his confirmation by the Senate was necessary for him to continue in the role.

Republican Sens. Johnny Isakson (Ga.) and Orrin Hatch (Utah) blocked Boarman’s nomination from consideration earlier this year because of a dispute over a nomination of a Republican to the National Labor Relations Board.

But even after the two lawmakers dropped their hold, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) said on the floor during Saturday’s session that new problems had arisen regarding Boarman’s nomination and that the chamber would not be able to confirm him before his appointment expires at the end of the month.

The Senate has left town for the holiday season and will not return until mid-January.

Boarman told Roll Call today that he had been unable to get information about why a hold was made at the last minute and who was responsible.

“No one has ever raised any other issue with us,” he said. “I don’t think there was a legitimate reason. Nothing ever came up in hearings.”

Concerns have been raised since Boarman was nominated 20 months ago.

Some, including conservative activist Andrew Breitbart, questioned Boarman’s commitment to the unique private-public relationship of GPO. Sixty percent of the agency’s printing activities at the time were procured through private contracts.

Boarman also admitted to receiving more than $3,000 in erroneous GPO checks, which he said he believed were payments. He repaid the dues to the agency.

But Boarman said today that he did not believe that those concerns had contributed to his stalled confirmation and that the reason was still a mystery to him.

Although he will serve in the position until the first session of the 112th Congress is formally adjourned, Boarman indicated that he was not interested in fighting to remain in office, despite his disappointment. He will continue to speak with the White House, Reid and other allies in the Senate to try to figure out what happened.

In the meantime, he said serving as head of the GPO has been an honor he won’t soon forget.

“I’m the 26th public printer, and nobody can ever take that away from me,” he said. “I’m going out with my head held high. … I’m just disappointed and sorry I can’t continue.”

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