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Plum Book becomes political

We’ve posted previously about the Plum Book and how this simple US govt phonebook has been surreptitiously changed to further a political agenda. Now Think Progress has picked up the story. They point out that both the 2004 and 2008 editions offer a startling — and erroneous — assertion: The office of the Vice President is not in the executive branch. Both versions put the description of the VP’s office last under “Appendices,” rather than in the Executive Branch section:

The Vice Presidency is a unique office that is neither a part of the executive branch nor a part of the legislative branch, but is attached by the Constitution to the latter. The Vice Presidency performs functions in both the legislative branch (see article I, section 3 of the Constitution) and in the executive branch (see article II, and amendments XII and XXV, of the Constitution, and section 106 of title 3 of the United States Code).

The 1996 and 2000 versions unambiguously include the Office of the Vice President in the executive branch.

Plum Book Online

GPO posted the Plum Book today on at gpoaccess.gov. You can get it in whole or in parts, in PDF or plain text or even purchase a paper copy:


Plum Book to be available Wednesday

The Government Printing Office has announced that its eagerly awaited “Plum Book,” which lists more than 8,000 federal positions that can be filled by appointment as a new administration takes office, will be available Wednesday from the GPO’s bookstore for $38. The press run will be 2,717 copies. But only 1,000 hard copies are for sale- the rest are given away to members of congress and other officials. (The Plum Book: Washington’s Hottest Read.)


The text also will be posted on gpoaccess.gov and available there at no charge.

Cheney: OVP neither executive nor legislative branch

The Office of the Vice President (OVP) is refusing to cooperate with a government directory known as the "Plum Book," which lists government employees. Federal agencies have to comply by listing staffers in the directory, but Dick Cheney’s office claimed an exemption for itself, arguing that the Vice Presidency is a unique office that is neither a part of the executive branch nor a part of the legislative branch. But it’s not just the phone book with which the OVP refuses to cooperate. Evidently, the OVP is not part of the executive branch and so need not comply with ANY disclosures. An important legal ruling is pending over Vice President Cheney’s refusal to disclose statistics on document classification and declassification activity. The Information Security Oversight Office (ISOO), which is responsible for the policy and oversight of the government’s security classification system and declassification, has asked Attorney General Alberto Gonzales to direct Cheney’s office to disclose these statistics. According to Steven Aftergood of Secrecy News, "for the last three years, OVP has refused to divulge its classification statistics to ISOO, despite a seemingly explicit requirement that it do so. Prior to 2002, such information had routinely been transmitted and reported in ISOO’s annual reports to the President." Hmmm, the OVP doesn’t want the public to know who’s working there or how many documents they’re classifying. What’s going on there?