SEC staff found surfing porn on work computers

SEC staff found surfing porn on work computers

An internal investigation by the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) has found 33 employees viewed porn on agency computers over the past five years, with the worst excesses occurring during the height of the financial crisis.

The probe, conducted by the SEC's internal watchdog following a request from Republican Senator Charles Grassley of Iowa, found that 17 of the alleged offenders were "senior" staff. The watchdog employs over 3500 people.

According to ABC, which broke the story, an internal memo shows that one attorney at the SEC headquarters in Washington spent up to eight hours a day looking at porn, downloading images to CDs and DVDs after filling up his computer hard drive.

An accountant attempted to access porn sites 1800 times in one fortnight while another used his SEC-issued computer to upload his own videos onto porn sites.

SEC spokesman John Nester told the Wall Street Journal that all 33 had been, or were in the process of being, disciplined, with some suspended or dismissed.

Revelations about SEC staff viewing porn at work first emerged several months ago but the story has been reignited by the memo obtained by ABC. It comes as the watchdog is under fire by Republicans as a battle over regulatory reform blazes. Some Republicans have also claimed the SEC's law suit against Goldman Sachs in politically motivated.

Republican Congressman Darrell Issa, who sits on the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, said it was "disturbing that high-ranking officials within the SEC were spending more time looking at porn than taking action to help stave off the events that put our nation's economy on the brink of collapse."

Says Issa: "This stunning report should make everyone question the wisdom of moving forward with plans to give regulators like the SEC even more widespread authority."

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