On April 4 this column listed some of the fascinating and far-out publications put out for the public by the Government Printing Office, GPO has bookstores in federal agencies around Washington and at its own headquarters and also runs one of the world's biggest mail order book and periodical businesses.
Now the Commerce Department demands equal time. Its National Technical Information Service produced 70,000 new technical reports each year, and is the center source for government-sponsored research. Three recent eye-catchers include:
Islamic Government, by Ayatollah Khomeini, $6 per copy; The Role of Robots and Automation in Space, $4.50, and the $4 volume of "Quality Improvement of Oysters." Sounds like something for everyone from CIA analysts to Star Trekkies and gourmet cooks. The NTIS is located in Springfield, Va.
Speaking of Equal Time Demands . . . The Community Services Administration says we did it wrong the other day in a piece about the General Accounting Office's fraud hotline. Since it was set up, more than 4,000 persons have called the GAO with tips about alleged waste corruption and mismanagement.
The CSA says it was not, as I implied, one of the most unpopular agencies with tipsters. Indeed it is way down the line, behind the Social Security Administration, Labor, Internal Revenue Service, HUD and others which drew the most whistleblower complaints.
And Social Security was unhappy with the Report that GAO sleuths had, through the fraud hotline, uncovered a commune of alleged baddies drawing social security benefits based on mental disorders diagnosed by the same doctor. Social Security says it told the GAO about the problem, not the other way around. GAO sticks to its story. You two distinguished agencies fight it out. Meantime, don't forget to check on the validity of those monthly checks.