April 23rd, 2010
12:59 AM ET

SEC staffers watched porn as economy crashed

As the country was sinking into its worst financial crisis in more than 70 years, Security and Exchange Commission employees and contractors cruised porn sites and viewed sexually explicit pictures using government computers, an SEC investigation obtained by CNN showed.

"During the past five years, the SEC OIG (Office of Inspector General) substantiated that 33 SEC employees and or contractors violated Commission rules and policies, as well as the government-wide Standards of Ethical Conduct, by viewing pornographic, sexually explicit or sexually suggestive images using government computer resources and official time," said a summary of the investigation by the inspector general's office.

More than half of the workers made between $99,000 – $223,000. All the cases took place over the past five years.

"It is nothing short of disturbing that high-ranking officials within the SEC were spending more time looking at pornography than taking action to help stave off the events that brought our nation's economy to the brink of collapse," said Rep. Darrell Issa. The Republican is a ranking member of the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform.

"This stunning report should make everyone question the wisdom of moving forward with plans to give regulators like the SEC even more widespread authority," he said. "Inexplicably, rather than exercise its existing regulatory enforcement authority, SEC officials were preoccupied with other distractions."

Read the full CNN.com story

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Filed under: Economy
soundoff (26 Responses)
  1. Paul Wyatt

    When will these overpaid government employees be terminated for cause?

    April 23, 2010 at 1:15 am | Report abuse | Reply
  2. Josh M

    Why aren't these sites blocked from those computers to start with??? I can't think of any major company -not- blocking sites like this in order to prevent exactly that from happening. The government -should- know better.. lol sheesh!

    April 23, 2010 at 1:17 am | Report abuse | Reply
  3. Jerod Gard

    The collapse of our economy is happening at the hands of the very fools trusted to protect it. The names of each SEC employee should be revealed for the nation to see, and they should be fired. As taxpayers, we should have that choice to do so.

    April 23, 2010 at 1:19 am | Report abuse | Reply
  4. foil

    OMG!!! I'm laughing and outraged at the same time....talk about mixed feelings.

    April 23, 2010 at 1:19 am | Report abuse | Reply
  5. jandarian

    It's kind of scary when they take a story like this and attempt to tie it in to current political hot topics, like further Banking regulations. So these people needed a little relief...sure it shouldn't be on company time on company equipment, but it has NOTHING to do with whether or not the SEC functioned properly. People actually buy this level of propaganda here?

    April 23, 2010 at 1:20 am | Report abuse | Reply
  6. Nick Smith

    This is really old news!

    The timing of this report is very interesting.

    April 23, 2010 at 1:22 am | Report abuse | Reply
  7. Jim Walker

    As an independent I find Rep. Darrell Issa's comments disturbing.

    DId Rep. Darrell Issa ever think that most of these problems happened under the supervision of SEC commission chair Chris Cox, a former California GOP congressman and Bush appointee? This is the guy who sat on the Federal Housing Finance Oversight Board, which advises the Director of the Federal Housing Finance Agency with respect to overall strategies and policies regarding the safety and soundness the housing market.

    He failed miserably. Now we know why.

    So now in 2010 GOP leader is going to criticize changes that will fix an agency that was gutted by the previous administration?

    April 23, 2010 at 1:24 am | Report abuse | Reply
  8. Ryan

    The past 5 years??

    So this began when the Republicans were in power...BIG SURPRISE.

    It would've been stopped sooner if It weren't so unbelievable. Thank god someone is finally investigating this and wall street reform...thank you President Obama!!

    April 23, 2010 at 1:26 am | Report abuse | Reply
  9. Edward

    33 in 5 years with thousands of employees. Talk about an over statement. And this just in as everyone is talking about financial regulations, how convenient. CNN is slipping...

    April 23, 2010 at 1:27 am | Report abuse | Reply
  10. Evan

    Government is just an place where people can pick up a pay check to do nothing but push paper around and around and around. What's new?

    April 23, 2010 at 1:28 am | Report abuse | Reply
  11. Randy

    If I'm not mistaken, didn't Richard Steel, RNC Chairman, and other GOPer's spend RNC funds at a strip club entertaining fortune 500 corporate sponsors?

    April 23, 2010 at 1:33 am | Report abuse | Reply
  12. SNAPPA

    Those involved should be fired, no questions asked.

    April 23, 2010 at 1:36 am | Report abuse | Reply
  13. Patrick Lewis

    The logic of Rep. Darrell Issa does not pan out. There are personnel issues, and they should be addressed regardless of what the organization does. But that does not mean that the SEC shouldn't regulate the financial industry. Whatever dysfunction the SEC has is irrelevant to the fact that there are unregulated financial instruments, and perverse reverse incentives in the financial system that are destabilizing to the economy.

    In other words, fire the perverts and implement effective financial reform. We should do both and neither interferes with the other.

    April 23, 2010 at 1:40 am | Report abuse | Reply
  14. Wally Cleaver

    There is nothing 'stunning' about this report. 33 folks in a 60 month period?....they were hardly spending more time surfing porn than doing their jobs. Sensationalist reporting.....nothing more... Move along, there's nothing to see here... I used to work for the fed in network security and monitoring.....these sorts of incidents are routine....the always will be....human nature is fairly consistent over time.....read a history book...

    April 23, 2010 at 1:41 am | Report abuse | Reply
  15. Thanatos

    Once again the GOP simply miss the mark. The fact that their was no regulation and that Bush himself argued for this made it so the SEC had very little to do and absolutely all the time in the world.

    April 23, 2010 at 1:41 am | Report abuse | Reply
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