This Day in the Law
June 23

Government Printing Office Established (1860)

On June 23, 1860, Congressional Joint Resolution 25 established the Government Printing Office, an agency of the legislative branch of the government.

The Government Printing Office (GPO) prints documents produced by and for the federal government, including Supreme Court decisions, passports, tax forms, and agency publications. It also provides electronic access to government documents. The GPO actually contracts out most of the publications. However, it prints several important documents in-house, including the Code of Federal Regulations, the United States Code, the Federal Register, and the House Journal and Senate Journal.

The GPO is headed by the Public Printer, who is nominated by the President and must be approved by the Senate. By law, the Public Printer must be highly skilled in the areas of bookbinding and printing to qualify for the post, although today, skills in electronic information distribution are also crucial for appointment. President Obama has designated William J. Boarman as nominee for Public Printer of the United States.