Data for the masses


Carl Malamud is running for federal office. For head of the Government Printing Office, to be precise. But there’s no election.

No matter, he’s running anyway.

A week and a half ago, Malamud launched a virtual-roots campaign and Web site – – in a bid to be appointed by President Barack Obama as the Public Printer of the United States.

GPO may seem like a sleepy government outpost to some, but not to Malamud.

For him, it would the opportunity of a lifetime. As founder of the California-based nonprofit group, he’s spent his career ushering years worth of government information and documents onto the Internet, greatly annoying federal officials along the way.

Carl Malamud

Carl Malamud

If appointed as head of GPO, the 49-year-old Malamud promises big changes. Among them: Make all legal materials readily accessible; tighten bonds with the nation’s librarians; create a United States Publishing Academy to educate the rest of government on how to print and publish effectively in the modern age; overhaul the Federal Register to be more useable and accessible; and post government Web sites and information to be more prominent on the Internet.

“For what it is worth, I think anybody who wants to operate at senior levels of our government owes the public as well as their potential employer a thorough, in-depth examination of what they think about the agency,” he told Federal Times. “This is particularly important to a service bureau like the GPO.”

To help his case, Malamud has fashioned an Obama-esque poster and campaign slogan: Yes We Scan.

Any bites yet from the Obama team? It doesn’t hurt that a former boss and fan of his, John Podesta, is running the Obama transition team. “He would certainly shake things up,” Podesta was quoted as saying in The New York Times.

Malamud said he’s been invited to submit “a whole bunch of information about the GPO to the president’s transition team.”


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