GPO Nominee Faces First Round of Confirmation Hearings

Posted May 25, 2010 at 12:10pm

William Boarman, the president’s nominee to run the Government Printing Office, detailed his contribution to help a Senate candidate in Arkansas and exhorted his experience bringing organizations out of debt in a confirmation hearing Tuesday morning.

Currently a vice president at the Communication Workers of America union, Boarman appeared before the Senate Rules and Administration Committee. Ranking member Bob Bennett (R-Utah) asked him about a recent $250 contribution he made to Arkansas Lt. Gov. Bill Halter (D), who is in a runoff against Sen. Blanche Lincoln (D). The contribution was not mentioned in the materials Boarman originally submitted to the committee.

Boarman said he made the contribution quickly online and had forgotten he made it until he saw it mentioned in an article Monday, so he “immediately” wrote the committee a letter about it. As a member of the union, he has made regular political contributions.

“Most of us contribute to our union program,” he explained. “They take an amount of money out of our check every two weeks, and it goes to the political action committee.”

Bennett followed up with a question about whether Boarman would seek to impose prevailing union wages on private printers who get GPO contracts.

“I have no plans to change the current system,” he replied. “I think it would be unlawful to impose union conditions for printing. I don’t know that there’s any law that requires you to do that.”

Sen. Mark Warner (D-Va.), who stood in for Sen. Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.) as chairman of the committee, asked Boarman how he would deal with a projected deficit at the agency. Boarman referred to his experience at the CWA with President Larry Cohen.

“We made the hard choices that had to be made in order to get our budget in line, and today it’s in line,” he said.

Boarman, a resident of Severna Park, Md., began his career at McArdle Printing in the late 1960s. His work experience included stints at the GPO and International Typographical Union, and he has testified before Senate committees and served as an adviser to past public printers. Warner said his career prepared him well for one of the printing industry’s most prominent jobs.

“I personally look forward to supporting your appointment and believe you’ve got a big job in front of you,” he said.

The hearing wasn’t all about Boarman. House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer (D-Md.), on hand to introduce fellow Marylander Boarman, used the opportunity to mourn Bennett’s recent primary loss.

“The country will be lesser for your loss,” he said.

“May I remind you it’s Mr. Boarman’s hearing and not mine,” Bennett replied dryly, returning Hoyer to his introduction — but not without a later parting shot.

“And also, I will vote to confirm Mr. Bennett,” he concluded his statement.

An archived webcast of the hearing is available at rules.senate.gov.