No We Scan’t

Carl Malamud, the always serious but never boring man behind Public.Resource.Org, a California non-profit which has made countless pages of government records available online for free download, will not be appointed the next Public Printer of the United States.

President Obama has instead decided that the position, which oversees the Government Printing Office, will go to William J. Boarman, an official in the Communications Workers of America with, according to a union press release, a “career in the printing industry [that] spans 40 years.”

A year ago I profiled Malamud’s unconventional “Yes We Scan” effort to secure the appointment for himself, calling in his relatively limited Washington chits and waging something akin to a social media powered write in campaign for, yes, an unelected position.

Here are that article’s concluding paragraphs, which put a nice coda on today’s announcement:

Malamud says he won’t stop his campaign until he or someone else is appointed public printer—and he admits the latter scenario is “highly likely.” Even if he doesn’t get the job, he sees reasons to be pleased with the campaign.

“We’ve had a couple of very successful outcomes so far. A good five, ten thousand people, maybe much more, now know what the Government Printing Office is and what it does. There’s a thousand people who care enough about this to want to influence this agency. I think that’s really key,” says Malamud. “It’s been a valuable exercise if nothing else.“

“I want the job and I’m willing to be patient. If they want to come back in three years, I’ll probably still do it then,” he says. “And I’ll continue to do GPO-like work anyway.”

True to form, Malamud and his merry band are indeed in the middle of some GPO-like work, a quest to digitize public domain government films.

And there are apparently no hard feelings. “Congrats,” Malamud tweeted this morning. “I’ve met Bill, he’ll do great!”

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Clint Hendler is the managing editor of Mother Jones, and a former deputy editor of CJR.