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SEC porn scandal results in zero firings, agency says

By Ed O'Keefe

None of the Securities and Exchange Commission employees caught using government computers to view pornographic images has been fired, according to the agency.

The SEC inspector general investigated 28 employees and five contractors for accessing inappropriate images and Web sites, according to a report released late last week.

Of the employees, eight resigned and six were suspended for periods lasting one to 14 days, the inspector general, H. David Kotz, said in an letter Tuesday to Sen. Charles E. Grassley (R-Iowa). Five were issued formal reprimands, six were issued informal counseling or warning letters, and three are currently facing disciplinary action.

All five contractors caught were removed from their contracts, Kotz added.

The SEC comes up with different numbers, but they also add up to no firings.

The staffers accessed pornographic Web sites and images by using Google and Yahoo search engines and by successfully disabling Internet filters on their computers, Kotz said.

Grassley on Tuesday asked SEC Chairman Mary L. Schapiro to clarify why the workers faced different levels of discipline. Schapiro sent a memo Friday stating that any employee who violates the agency's computer usage rules will be fired.

The Iowa Republican also asked Schapiro for specific salary and disciplinary information for the 33 workers and contractors.

"We look forward to responding to Senator Grassley in detail," SEC spokesman John Nester said in an e-mail.

Grassley's office also distributed a whistleblower complaint sent to his office regarding an assistant regional director at SEC's Los Angeles office who made 1,800 attempts to access pornographic Web sites from his agency computer.

The letter, purportedly from an SEC employee in the agency's Los Angeles regional office, described poor morale and high turnover partly due to the official getting "a free pass" from agency management for his inappropriate computer use.

Leave your thoughts in the comments section below

By Ed O'Keefe  | April 27, 2010; 8:37 PM ET
Categories:  Oversight, Workplace Issues  
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Next: Study: 61% of adults use web for government info

Comments

Fire each and every one of them that accessed a porn site. And make their record show it - as in predator.

It's called Codes of Conduct and Internet Policies. Most companies have an Internet policy of NOT using company/state/fed resources for accessing websites.

Specially ones of ill-repute.

Gambling is the same. Heck, accessing the WaPO to blog isn't even allowed in some places.

Posted by: TheBabeNemo | April 27, 2010 8:59 PM | Report abuse

Five typical contractors produce more per day than 28 typical government employees but guess who gets fired. No accountability for their actions is why the SEC employees were caught with their pants down during the economic crisis.

Posted by: PowerBoater69 | April 27, 2010 9:12 PM | Report abuse

Fire the entire lot!! Why should taxpayers subsidise such folly?

Posted by: prokofiev85 | April 27, 2010 9:21 PM | Report abuse

This makes that SNL skit on government workers so on point. Be careful Mr. O'Keefe, if word gets around about this blog it could lead to a surge of stress related disability claims at the SEC.

Posted by: Weave160 | April 27, 2010 9:21 PM | Report abuse

It's the US Government (or any local/state gov/union), full of extremely lazy do nothing employees some of whom are perverts. ALL are greatly overpaid.

Posted by: Drudge1 | April 27, 2010 10:43 PM | Report abuse

this predictable state of affairs is especially rich in light of the indignant federal Dilberts who usually write in to INSIST that they are working as hard or harder as private company employees. Yet, they wail, they are "trapped" in a capped pay scale system.
Poor babies! If this doesn't prove that even the creepiest Fed has a job for life, I do not know what does.
Overpaid, underworked, retirement a decade early and too many perks and vacation/holidays to list here. Plus short work weeks, many days from home.
So glad we are busily expanding government oversight into so many aspects of our lives.
Dopes like these SEC perverts will enjoy six-figure salaries for life while we hard-working taxpayers are stuck with their tabs. And for what? They would last a WEEK in the private sector (and would have to work past 4 p.m.!)
A disgusting display of ineptitude, even in light of the bumbling of the stock market crash and regulation laxity. Atrocious. I resent every penny of my taxes for these glass bowls.

Posted by: FloridaChick | April 27, 2010 11:07 PM | Report abuse

why can't we all just get along.... clay fertility depictions to nude paintings have been around since the beginning of "civilization" because they exist in the mind. Life is short and should be sweet.

Posted by: Geopolitics101 | April 27, 2010 11:59 PM | Report abuse

So, the entire freakin economy melts down on the SEC's watch, and nobody's scandalized.

But looking at nekkid pictures, now THAT we get all up in arms about.

Posted by: 12008N1 | April 28, 2010 1:21 AM | Report abuse

Who cares????????? Seriously if you're worried about wasted time think about all the time on espn or texting, this is such a waste of everybody's time

Posted by: morning135 | April 28, 2010 1:38 AM | Report abuse

Actually, they were not looking at pornography. They were looking at pictures of Tiger Wood's girl friends.

.

Posted by: pyee | April 28, 2010 2:26 AM | Report abuse

So 13 people were fired-ish. However no one was actually fired. Well that works for me. Hopefully in their next positions those 13 people will not watch porn at work.

Posted by: Nymous | April 28, 2010 2:31 AM | Report abuse

So the SEC is keeping one hand on Wall Street and the other on ... I think we can use the same verb to describe what's happening on both.

Posted by: barferio | April 28, 2010 4:27 AM | Report abuse

What a ridiculously puritanical society. Meanwhile you've killed and injured hundreds of thousands of men, women and children in the last seven years and you regard that as virtuous.

No wonder you're sliding down the drain hole of history.

Posted by: politbureau | April 28, 2010 4:42 AM | Report abuse

Oh, please. Everyone LOVES porn! Fap fap fap...

Posted by: Dawny_Chambers | April 28, 2010 6:03 AM | Report abuse

All of them should be fired for sheer stupidity and on the further grounds that the U.S. government cannot afford to have such stupid people employed - the politicians are enough and we don't have any control over that. The lowliest government trainee and clerk know that Internet surfing and, to a lesser extent, e-mails are clocked by Uncle. It's Uncle's computer and Uncle's show.

Posted by: Calabrese99 | April 28, 2010 6:12 AM | Report abuse

In my agency, there are virtually no consequences for poor performance. I especially dread having to deal with our HR department, and it sometimes takes MONTHS to complete a simple transaction because "workers" there simply don't return phone calls or e-mails.

Posted by: SF271 | April 28, 2010 6:44 AM | Report abuse

Well...the contractors were probably fired when they got back to the corporate office. But the Feds? Too bad.

What a lousy personnel system.

Posted by: chambers14 | April 28, 2010 7:09 AM | Report abuse

They were not fired because they were probably old white guys.

Posted by: fatflush3 | April 28, 2010 7:54 AM | Report abuse

I can't believe these losers did not get the ax. I've seen feds fired for far less (not that many of them ever get fired). SEC is under pay banding, and employees there make far more than the general schedule. SEC, please do the right thing and fire these losers.

Posted by: RB1019 | April 28, 2010 7:55 AM | Report abuse

Yep typical of the government - no firings. If it was the private sector they would have been escorted out of the building they day they were caught. Government employees reassigned or given reprimands. It is illegal to fire them.

Posted by: SSTK34 | April 28, 2010 8:08 AM | Report abuse

It looks like the SEC needs to investigate and reprimand themselves.
shuttdlrl

Posted by: shuttdlrl | April 28, 2010 8:09 AM | Report abuse

Yep, not only are the banks too big to fail, now the SEC is too nasty to fail.

You got to love it, Obama Nation, it is what we all voted for.

Posted by: kl305 | April 28, 2010 8:13 AM | Report abuse

What is the big deal? Why are Americans so uptight about someone looking at sex pictures during working hours?

Get a life! The god and jesus folks spend their time praying for miracles, why can't others look at genitals? Only in the shallow minds of the spiritualists is there a difference.

Posted by: m1kem1lls | April 28, 2010 8:33 AM | Report abuse

The first one who needs to be fired is H. David Kotz. He just gave approval to this type of action by employees. What a north end of a south bound mule!

Posted by: gunnysgt77 | April 28, 2010 8:49 AM | Report abuse

Five typical contractors produce more per day than 28 typical government employees but guess who gets fired. No accountability for their actions is why the SEC employees were caught with their pants down during the economic crisis.

Posted by: PowerBoater69
==========================================================================================
Amen! This just shows what is wrong with Govt all too well. A guy has a 6-8 hour a day porn habit at work and he gets maybe 14 days off without pay. How terrible that for 14 days he didn't get his $224,000 annual salary of tax-payer money... the contractors get fired but if you are a fed worker it is "ok"

Posted by: tbastian | April 28, 2010 8:50 AM | Report abuse

Now we know why the SEC did so little to reign in the excesses on Wall Street: it liked to watch people getting screwed....

Posted by: timka | April 28, 2010 8:51 AM | Report abuse

The entire country is going to hell. mm mm

Posted by: shipfreakbo214 | April 28, 2010 8:54 AM | Report abuse

That's typical of federal employees. Most likely, those five contractors have been terminated from their company, or they left "willingly." Too bad the government has lax standards when it comes to their employees who siphon off taxpayer money....

Posted by: WildBill1 | April 28, 2010 9:00 AM | Report abuse

And you government employees wonder why posters here are so nasty in their statements about government leeches. Is Kotz saying that there are no rules at SEC about use/downloads on government computers or government time? Were any of these involving child porn? Were any sites forwarded to a civilian computer where there were children? This would of caused a full blown investigation if these were the unwashed masses. I'm not making a judgment on the social issue of porn. I'm making a statement on the lack of accountability of government employees that are stealing my tax dollars. Scum, pure and simple!

Posted by: gunnysgt77 | April 28, 2010 9:00 AM | Report abuse

So, to aid in coping with low morale in the office, try spending the day viewing internet porn. The results are very uplifting & it poses no danger to your job security. Sure beats the heck out of dealing with all that boring bank & stock market stuff.

Posted by: jcksavage | April 28, 2010 9:06 AM | Report abuse

Did viewing the sites interfere with their work performance?

Drugs and alcohol are prohibited because they impair work performance. Caffeine and nicotine are permitted because they improve concentration. Personal phone calls, shopping online, and viewing sexually pornographic images are not allowed because they distract. But chatting and shopping aren't tracked, while five contractors their work over the porn.

In the Department of the Army, you cannot ask if man sleeping across from you likes having sex with men, while in the Department of Commerce, you can be replaced for viewing a picture of a naked female. What does the federal government have against straight men?

Posted by: blasmaic | April 28, 2010 9:11 AM | Report abuse

Apparently there is not enough work at SEC for the number of high ranking employees. Let's start with a 30% reduction in supervisors and a 40% reduction in budget and see if the folks left can find something constructive to do with their time and my tax dollars. Scum, pure and simple!

Posted by: gunnysgt77 | April 28, 2010 9:14 AM | Report abuse

Look folks, its simple. If the employee resigns he or she avoids having a removal on his/her record. The federal agency also avoids having to go through the cumbersome process of a removal, involving a proposal, a removal decision and an appeal process. This process takes time and resources and the outcome is unclear. So a resignation simplifies things.

Posted by: dgal | April 28, 2010 9:14 AM | Report abuse

I need more information. If the employees were consistently seeking out un-debateable porn day in and day out (and disabling their porn filters), then that is a problem. If they were surfing the web one day and came across an isolated nude event, then I am more sympathetic.

Posted by: wwc4g | April 28, 2010 9:18 AM | Report abuse

Posted by: SSTK34 "Yep typical of the government - no firings. If it was the private sector they would have been escorted out of the building they day they were caught. Government employees reassigned or given reprimands. It is illegal to fire them."
--------------------------------
Oh please. How many of you people have every used a work computer to shop online, check scores or as we are doing right now, reading the paper. This is no different than looking at porn. The activity is not illegal and unless it can be proved that the things they were working on at the time were greatly affected in a negative way, put it in their file, give them a warning and move on. You all pretend to be so moral and prude. Everybody does things on the clock that waste time. How is their job affected any more by this than taking the day off. Seriously people, get off your horse and soapbox

Posted by: schnauzer21 | April 28, 2010 9:20 AM | Report abuse

"Oh please. How many of you people have every used a work computer to shop online, check scores or as we are doing right now, reading the paper. "

Amen. Porn is, IMO, a larger problem for any number of reasons. But what is porn in this context? Is page 3 of the Sun "porn"? How about the Wikipedia articles with pictures of naked people doing sexual things? Those two I have less of an issue with than a true porn site.

Posted by: bobtom222 | April 28, 2010 9:28 AM | Report abuse

They aren't filters exclusively for porn. They block news sites like the Washington Post. They can also block dating sites which are not pornography.

I understand why the filter fascists don't like news sites -- they print criticism. I understand why they hate porn -- it gives them credibility with the ugliest 99 percent of the female population. But what do they have against love and family?

Posted by: blasmaic | April 28, 2010 9:29 AM | Report abuse

Who cares. There isn't a single person who has posted here who has not used a work computer to access web sites that have nothing to do with the job they are paid to do.

Yahoo. YouTube. MySpace. Facebook. Yeah, that's right you self-righteous buffoons. Facebook is "porn" by another name and every bit as addictive. Keep calling the kettle black.

Posted by: burtonpaul | April 28, 2010 9:37 AM | Report abuse

Pretty easy to tell who are government employees and who are school children by the posts here. The old 'but everyone is doing it' defense! :^)

Posted by: gunnysgt77 | April 28, 2010 9:49 AM | Report abuse

fire every single one of the federal employees who have so debased and defrauded the government.

oh, wait. you're referring to porn sites; i thought it was torture.... my bad.

Posted by: mycomment | April 28, 2010 9:49 AM | Report abuse

Clearly these people should have been fired, the issue is not the moral question of viewing porn, they can do that all they want ...on their own time and their own computers. The issue is that they are at work and using employer property. We take a too lax attitude towards wasting time at work. All employers should have the right to block all sites, ESPN, News, and porn which detract from focusing on the job (including this!).

Posted by: georgepschaefer | April 28, 2010 9:59 AM | Report abuse

Just one more example of SEC's lack of oversight. Seems to me the employees should have more productive things to do in the work place given the state of the economy.

Posted by: TLSW | April 28, 2010 10:08 AM | Report abuse

Exactly, what does one have to do these days in order to get fired by the federal government?

These SEC porn perps and their shamelessly corrupt supervisors have job security protections akin to that of either Roman Catholic bishops or public school teachers.

Good gig if you can get it, but absolutely horrible for the rest of us.

And so it goes...

Posted by: pgould1 | April 28, 2010 10:38 AM | Report abuse


If the Federal government has to ability, with the use of some inexpensive software, to block those websites to keep their employees from visiting them, wouldn't it be much easier?

Instead we have to take up more valuable time with Congressional hearings, newspapers articles, and endless discussions about how the government isn't doing it's job.

Please! Spare me the incredulity!


Posted by: helloisanyoneoutthere | April 28, 2010 10:39 AM | Report abuse

If you started firing Federal employees for not doing their job where would you stop? At Janet Napolitano?

Posted by: jdonner2 | April 28, 2010 10:40 AM | Report abuse

Anybody really surprised by this? I've worked for both the government and now the private sector. Firing anybody in the government is nearly impossible and takes months. In my current job, you'd be gone in 30 seconds if you did something like this.... if the administration would stop trying to blame everybody for the current mess and work towards hiring competent people and building jobs we'd all be better off.

Posted by: getbent | April 28, 2010 10:48 AM | Report abuse

you can't fire govt employees, c'mon. if they were in the private sector the only jobs they'd be able to get would be alongside a chain gang picking up trash on the highway. they'll just reassign them to DOI or something.

Posted by: beaupre33 | April 28, 2010 10:53 AM | Report abuse

Obama embarrasses the US yet again.

Posted by: askgees | April 28, 2010 10:55 AM | Report abuse

I imagine the goverment worker porn watchers who left SEC will now become the watchdogs against waste, fraud, and abuse in Obama Care. They, in fact, would be the ideal watchdogs since they would not note or report any problems in this new "too big to fail" Big Government program.

That is why is so comforting to see the government continuing to expand, while businesses contract. The only winners in this unprecedent growth of government will be the porn industry.

Posted by: strategiesinter | April 28, 2010 10:56 AM | Report abuse

I agree with TheBabeNemo, everyone of them should be fired. With big brother in the workplace having the ability to look at your computer from the boss' office, you can't tell me the higher ups couldn't track what was happening. The PCs are, afterall, the property of the government, as are the employees on their 8 hour shift. It's a waste of taxpayer money, which is what they use to pay these people. I agree also that they should be labeled as predators, with our youngsters being called sex offenders for sexting. This shouldn't be tolerated.

Posted by: ladyhawk71 | April 28, 2010 10:56 AM | Report abuse

Perhaps the first who needs to go is Mary Shapiro.

How many excuses can she keep coming up with for poor management?

Posted by: amelia45 | April 28, 2010 10:58 AM | Report abuse

As a former Human Resources Director the actions sounds about right. Some were probably going to be fired and resigned instead - normal; some were suspended and reprimanded - suspensions and formal reprimands are normal; disciplinary actions take longer - hearings at different levels; appeals; etc.

Great story but the actions taken are very normal.

Posted by: rlj1 | April 28, 2010 11:01 AM | Report abuse

This is absolutely appalling! If these slouchers are not going to get fired then the Government needs to add up ALL of the hours that these creeps spent on the internet and pay their wages back to the tax payers!!

Posted by: merf-1 | April 28, 2010 11:01 AM | Report abuse

This denigrates the perception of the public employee that these employees were not fired.

Beyond the porn, some of these employees had 6 to 8 hours of not working on the job assigned. What was the work product they showed to justified a positive evaluation.

When I hear news reports that public employees are overpaid---I say nonsense. In this time of history the private sector is just underserved and should not be something we level the job market against.

But everyone needs to have performance levels. It serves the employee, the taxpayer and the agency to ask the best of everyone.

Posted by: 411Tibby | April 28, 2010 11:02 AM | Report abuse

I am angry that my taxes paid some bozo to spend his time looking at porn on the job.

If they worked for private industry they would be gone.

Once again a double standard for gov't employees and the rest of us carrying them on our backs.

Now SEC is working Obama agenda...what conclusions can we get from this...

Posted by: jacques21 | April 28, 2010 11:12 AM | Report abuse

1. There appears to be a leadership problem with the Securities and Exchange Commision (SEC). After a banking bailout, scram trading and a pornography case. The SEC Chairman should resign.

2. The actions of the SEC is a disgrace to the people of the United States of America, as well to the President. Houston, we have a problem!!!

Antonio Ivan Easterling
Chief Editor
The Proletarian Review

Posted by: sterlinggo1 | April 28, 2010 11:12 AM | Report abuse


The public should also be informed of what these workers' platinum-plated pensions will be worth.

Outrageous.

What do you have to do to get fired? Murder?

Posted by: DagnyT | April 28, 2010 11:15 AM | Report abuse

If these clowns worked in private industry they would be walked out the door. Another testimony to all the comments that it is almost impossible to get fired from gov't for behavior problems.

I for one am tired of carrying this type of crappy person on high end public welfare. I am also tired of administrators who don't administrate.

Did any of them go blind?

Posted by: jacques21 | April 28, 2010 11:16 AM | Report abuse

The people who should be fired across the board in the Obama administration are the people put in place during the Bush years. They are undermining his administration and should be ferreted out and replaced by people who share the principles of the Democratic party.

Posted by: pkbishop1 | April 28, 2010 11:19 AM | Report abuse

flood the Congress with calls.

Enough is enough.

How much of this porn was kiddie porn?

This is exactly what the Catholic church did with its priests.

Posted by: JohnAdams1 | April 28, 2010 11:23 AM | Report abuse

This story's headline could have just as easily been "SEC porn scandal results in eight resignations." The ones who resigned probably knew it was likely they otherwise would be fired. But, of course, the story sounds more shocking if the headline states only that no one was fired.

Posted by: lacuna | April 28, 2010 11:24 AM | Report abuse

This is a slap in the face of hardworking taxpayers who pay the salary for these SEC porn surfers who are getting only a slap on the wrist. This would not be tolerated in the private sector.

In fact, they should be criminally prosecuted for using government property and taking pay for not working..in essence, a no show at work. Years ago, a State Dept. employee was criminally prosecuted for simply using his office computer to store info about his ballroom dancing club...this stuff at the SEC is ten times worse. SEC's Mary Schapiro, and indeed Congress are too soft here.

Posted by: philpost1 | April 28, 2010 11:26 AM | Report abuse

how much if this was kiddie porn

Isn't this exactly what the Catholic Church did with its priests?

flood congress with calls

Posted by: JohnAdams1 | April 28, 2010 11:27 AM | Report abuse

Firing is a no brainer. Where is the requirement that the offenders repay their salaries while doing private business on the job? Anything less than extreme disciplinary measures is unacceptable.

Posted by: bgahearn | April 28, 2010 11:28 AM | Report abuse

You can't fire anyone who works for the government. It's impossible.

If you disagree, please let us know how it's done so we can fire the entire lot in DC currently.

Posted by: tmace | April 28, 2010 11:31 AM | Report abuse

Obama embarrasses the US yet again.

Posted by: askgees | April 28, 2010 10:55 AM |

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

"Three of the incidents occurred this year, ten in 2009, 16 in 2008, two in 2007 and one each in 2006 and 2005."

http://voices.washingtonpost.com/federal-eye/2010/04/eye_opener_porn_and_federal_wo.html

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

God you are a twit !


Posted by: helloisanyoneoutthere | April 28, 2010 11:33 AM | Report abuse

Where are all the government employees with third grade educations who were in here posting the other day that working for the gubmint is just as hard as working for the private sector? That lazy, crooked slob government employees get fired?

Posted by: Jeff08 | April 28, 2010 11:39 AM | Report abuse

"Schapiro sent a memo Friday stating that any employee who violates the agency's computer usage rules will be fired."

So this would be LAST Friday? So it marks a change in policy?? So, prior to Friday, there was no stated policy for dealing with employees who violate the agency's "computer usage rules"?

In 1999, that would be ELEVEN years ago, I ran a small business with about 100 employees. We had a "computer usage policy" then. It said anyone who violated the policy would be fired. I fired people who violated our policy.

What is it with government that causes common sense to be abandoned at the government building security checkpoint?

Posted by: Curmudgeon10 | April 28, 2010 11:59 AM | Report abuse

12008N1 said: "So, the entire freakin economy melts down on the SEC's watch, and nobody's scandalized. But looking at nekkid pictures, now THAT we get all up in arms about."

I couldn't care less how SEC workers get their jollies on their own time. But since they were doing this at work, then, yes, it is worth getting up in arms. Maybe if they were doing their jobs instead of surfing for porn, they would have found some of the massive securities fraud that was under their noses!

Posted by: tomguy1 | April 28, 2010 12:21 PM | Report abuse

Obama embarrasses the US yet again.

Posted by: askgees | April 28, 2010 10:55 AM | Report abuse
__________________________

No, you're wrong. All of this happened during the Bush administration. Not that Bush himself is to blame, other than that the SEC was pressured not to be tough on financial firms.

Posted by: johnc_80 | April 28, 2010 12:26 PM | Report abuse


Fire each and every one of them that accessed a porn site. And make their record show it - as in predator.

It's called Codes of Conduct and Internet Policies. Most companies have an Internet policy of NOT using company/state/fed resources for accessing websites.

Specially ones of ill-repute.

Gambling is the same. Heck, accessing the WaPO to blog isn't even allowed in some places.

Posted by: TheBabeNemo | April 27, 2010 8:59 PM | Report abuse

Lighten up on the predator crap and the ill-repute most likely it was one of your own ilk who accessed the sites you know you phony self-righteous christians
I have no problem with them being fired though because they violated policy and because they were stupid enough to do on a govy computer

Posted by: lildg54 | April 28, 2010 12:28 PM | Report abuse

Basically everyone (at least among the males) watches porn on the internet.

The SEC executives are being investigated because they dared to accuse Goldman Sachs of wrong doing, plain and simple.

The system works as in Stalin's Russia: you challenge the Big Brother and you end up in the gulag, albeit the consequences of a porn investigation are less lethal.

Posted by: soini | April 28, 2010 12:43 PM | Report abuse

You know you cannot fire union worker, especially a government union worker. They are trained to fake work and look busy. Whether looking at porno or not. That is what you get for the unionization of the workforce.

Posted by: ajmg1 | April 28, 2010 1:13 PM | Report abuse

Don't you know why they are not fired?

It's easy.

It's part of a union - and union people can do no wrong.

When have you EVER heard of a union member getting fired.

That's what led to the downfall of GM and Chrysler - and will lead to the downfall of state and the federal government

Posted by: robc1 | April 28, 2010 1:15 PM | Report abuse

Having watched the Senate hearings yesterday, two things seem very clear. First, none of the players/crooks involved seem to be have any moral compass

Posted by: romeburns | April 28, 2010 1:22 PM | Report abuse

oh please...who doesn't look at porn/or use their computer at work for other reasons not related to what they should be doing? and it's not a "government employee" issue--look at any company's employee computer usage and let's see the percentage of porn use. as far as unions go--everyone complains about them, until they need one....people don't realize what the workplace would be like without them-i'm not a union member-but i can appreciate what they do and what they've done.

Posted by: earthling | April 28, 2010 1:23 PM | Report abuse

"The SEC came up with different numbers" LOL

Maybe they had information on more suspensions and "letters of reprimand" than the external auditors had :)

Posted by: dubya1938 | April 28, 2010 1:25 PM | Report abuse

This is known as fiddling while Rome burns. Our once-great nation's treasury is being pillaged by the gluttonous thieves on Wall Street, and we're wasting our time worrying about a few employees who watched a bit of porn online. Who cares? This is a witch hunt. The only notable point of this story is the way the contractors were singled out unfairly for harsher discipline. Just remember, folks, these stories are calculated efforts to distract our attention from the real thieves who are robbing us blind...

Posted by: jerkhoff | April 28, 2010 1:25 PM | Report abuse

Are you kidding me ?

Fire - each and every one of them !

Posted by: stephenwhelton | April 28, 2010 1:33 PM | Report abuse

It is nearly impossible to fire Government employees for poor performance or goofing off on the job - note that the contractors all got the axe immediately. This is why Obamacare and his socialist expansion of Government is such a bad idea! Once the new Government employees are swilling from the public trough, we'll never get rid of them - and your taxes will pay for their porn habit.

Posted by: hill_marty | April 28, 2010 1:40 PM | Report abuse

Gee, if the SEC fires any of the porn watchers then DOD, DHS, IRS, DOL, HHS, etc. will need to fire 90% of their staff for porn watching. Not to mention 80% of Congressional staffers, 60% of the Senate and 55% of the House, and 70% of WH staff. Let them all watch porn and that way they won't be F****ing U.S. taxpayers as much as they are now!

Posted by: AZBROKER | April 28, 2010 1:45 PM | Report abuse

Sweet Jesus, take a chill. The broad brush strokes so many of you are painting are ridiculous.

Its one thing to say, "fire the people who look at porn on their computers," but its an utterly illogical step to say, "see, all those government employees are lazy, they couldn't last in the private sector, etc. etc."

Does anyone one know how many people work for the SEC? So maybe you could assess the cases of porn at work in context...as in, there are 6,500 employees at SEC, 45 were caught with porn on their comps. That's not quite the end of the world, people.

Get a grip (pun not intended, but acknowledged!!)

Posted by: megman | April 28, 2010 1:47 PM | Report abuse

This porn issue is not going to be so easy to sweep under the rug for those in charge. No one gets fired? Bad policy. The laws on the books relating to wall streets bad behavior in this mess are either too week or non exsitant. The laws against running a gaming operation as defined by the RICO act seem more on target. Did any of these wall street firms hold a gaming license? The synthetic-static-CDOs were nothing more than gambling operations enabled by the wall street Banksters. Our government should be going after wall street Banksters for illegal gaming. The RICO laws could do what needs done and the SEC is unable to. All day yesterday, the term "bet" was used to describe these junk CDOs. Not one person from the government or across the table denied the products in question were anything more than placing bets. USE RICO! Then collect back taxes from gaming income past due.

Posted by: romeburns | April 28, 2010 1:50 PM | Report abuse

Wow, talk about job security.

Posted by: Junior3 | April 28, 2010 1:56 PM | Report abuse

"Grassley on Tuesday asked SEC Chairman Mary L. Schapiro to clarify why the workers faced different levels of discipline. Schapiro sent a memo Friday stating that any employee who violates the agency's computer usage rules will be fired."

LOL obviously Schapiro acted quickly to rectify the situation. This wasn't the clearly-stated policy *before* she issued her memo :)

Posted by: dubya1938 | April 28, 2010 2:00 PM | Report abuse

They might as well have been Catholic priests.

Posted by: LeeH1 | April 28, 2010 2:03 PM | Report abuse

"Does anyone one know how many people work for the SEC? So maybe you could assess the cases of porn at work in context...as in, there are 6,500 employees at SEC, 45 were caught with porn on their comps. That's not quite the end of the world, people."

LOL 45 were reportedly caught with porn on their computers. To get the porn on their computers they had to access a site that stored the porn, surf the site and then actually download the porn.

Most if not all of them had Internet filters on their computers, meaning they had to DISABLE the filters to access & surf the sites and download the porn.

Many of them were recorded with thousands of filter violations, many of them with thousands of hours of pornsite-surfing. Over months, even years, of pornsite viewing at work.

And these are just the ones that we know about. We don't know...how much work they actually did vs how much time they spent actually viewing porn. We don't know how many of them were actually viewing porn at work vs the ones that were reported. We just DO NOT KNOW. And these are the people who are supposedly overseeing the financial world?

Posted by: dubya1938 | April 28, 2010 2:05 PM | Report abuse

"What is it with government that causes common sense to be abandoned at the government building security checkpoint? "

It's pretty simple. Keeping a government job is first, last, and foremost, a matter of pleasing your immediate supervisor. Everything has to go through that filter.

Posted by: dubya1938 | April 28, 2010 2:11 PM | Report abuse

"It's pretty simple. Keeping a government job is first, last, and foremost, a matter of pleasing your immediate supervisor. Everything has to go through that filter."

...and the higher-ups tend not to nuke their subordinates because the subordinates are the ones with all the dirt on them. Government management will bend over backwards to do anything short of actually firing their staff, out of simple cronyism.

Unfortunately in the end it all becomes simple cronyism.

Posted by: dubya1938 | April 28, 2010 2:13 PM | Report abuse

Hey PowerBoater & tbastian,

I don't know where you found that supposed statistic, which sounds totally made up, but the high "productivity" of our contractors from Blackwater, Halliburton, etc. have caused the needless deaths of countless innocent civilians and U.S. troops (who've been electrocuted by the CONTRACTORS' faulty wiring in barracks) in Iraq. Where's your outrage about our tax dollars being used for Blackwater and Halliburton??

I don't defend these SEC workers, but it's yet another example of the far right being more concerned about s*x than violence.

Posted by: gophillies | April 28, 2010 2:17 PM | Report abuse

Gee if they fire these people, maybe they could get jobs with the Republican National Committee's fundraiser section?

Posted by: Spectator | April 28, 2010 2:31 PM | Report abuse

Maybe I am stupid but I do not understand.
Why fire anybody who has not done any harm?
The whole SEC, Federal Reserve, etc should be fired to the last person, indeed. and this only as a start.
Criminal charges should immediately follow.
These porno watchers did nothing wrong to anybody else, really.

Looking at it from the other side of the pond, it looks as the usual American show to make believe everything is under control, when nothing is!

Posted by: roby3926 | April 28, 2010 2:32 PM | Report abuse

Didn't most of these people resign in lieu of disciplinary action? Federal employees can be fired. I've personally fired three of them. One for being wildly incompetent. One for cashing a travel check and then claiming she didn't get it and then given another advance. And one for lying on her employment application. I know of a few others who were fired - one for looking at porno, another for getting workmen's comp and then working part time - fraud, and another who did absolutely nothing but sit around and then call in sick at lunch time.

Firings do happen but I will agree that it's very very difficult. That's why a lot of managers work around them instead of spending a career getting rid of deadwood.

Posted by: Calabrese99 | April 28, 2010 3:00 PM | Report abuse

Riddle me this, batman. 90% of Feds DO NOT NEED INTERNET ACCESS. You could easily set up intranet only so they could see their agency homesite and whatnot. So I ask the question: why does your average federal dip dunker need internet access?
If they had to take an online class, set up a computer lab or whatever with strict internet controls. This isn't hard to figure out. Some agencies do a pretty good job of monitoring their employees, I can personally vouch for the USDA Forest Service.

Posted by: biffgrifftheoneandonly | April 28, 2010 3:02 PM | Report abuse

I would like to point out, that an employee could be downloading full length videos 8 hours a day, and also be doing 100% of their job whilst it downloads in the background for them to take home later.

so I think you also need to take into account their job performance over whether to fire or not.

Posted by: MarilynManson | April 28, 2010 3:28 PM | Report abuse

Comrades: Please, please tell me how to get such a cushy, protected job with SEC in DC, where anything is tolerated.

Posted by: rep15 | April 28, 2010 3:36 PM | Report abuse

The six "retirees" were, in essence, fired. They were given the choice of leaving or being fired. It's better that they were not fired because it makes it harder for them to draw unemployment complensation. And they will have a heck of a time coming up with plausible explanations for the next prospective employer as to why they left their previous job.

Posted by: gsross | April 28, 2010 3:37 PM | Report abuse

Thanks for the "Queen of Hearts" approach to employee discipline. Apparently, if everyone isn't decapitated for every offense, then justice wasn't served.

I don't condone porn at work, but neither do I condone Draconian penalties for relatively minor infractions.

Posted by: AxelDC | April 28, 2010 3:52 PM | Report abuse

The union thugs called the white house, said "don't fire our peeps!" and the administration said "OK BOSS".

Special interest perverts and their union representatives are running this country. The only thing important to democrats are union paying imbeciles and undocumented democrats.

Posted by: Cornell1984 | April 28, 2010 5:26 PM | Report abuse

Of course they are Gub'ment employees. They are ENTITLED to surf for porn on our taxes at the rate $220,000/year BEFORE you count their lavish benefits. What you people not working in goverment fail to understand is that you are a lesser sub race that is destined by the god king Obama to offer up your treasure and souls to yur betters. I know all the rest of you Americans on average earn $50,000/year or less but you are LESSER sub human beings you know you are worth less than government workers who are your betters, especially if yu are not part of a protected class or of the wrong color according to the standards of race preference supported by the government. For example: Jews, Asians and Whites need not apply for medical schools under the new healthcare bill because they are currently over represented in that profession. Please apply ONLY if you are a leftist that is: Black, Hispanic, an illegal alien (no white, asian or jewish illegal aliens will be tolerated by Obama). Obama has a actually posted list after list of racial and mental purity criteria in each and every bill he's signed for you to read and accept. Also according to Obama and the democrats if you are jewish you are fair game for jokes by the national security advisor Jim Jones. Jim Jones calls terrorists "warriors" and compares jews to Schylock much te same way Hitler did, but hey it's okay if democrats are jew hating race baiters right guys?

Posted by: spqr_us | April 28, 2010 5:48 PM | Report abuse

An example of TOP DOWN LEADERSHIP by George W. Bush and his political appointees.

Posted by: laurelphoto | April 28, 2010 6:22 PM | Report abuse

They say Nero Fiddled while Rome burned. The Bush Boys were entertaining themselves with porn. But, was it nude males or females?

Posted by: laurelphoto | April 28, 2010 6:24 PM | Report abuse

Just more of the same from government "workers".
Dimwits, who can't get real jobs, acting pretty much in their loser way..
Shut down the entire government and see how much America (as opposed to inside-the-beltway) is affected?

Posted by: graywolf98 | April 28, 2010 6:40 PM | Report abuse

Eh, I have no problem with this.

If they are good at what they do, the SEC needs to keep all agents who can do their job properly as they are under-staffed as it is

Posted by: Bious | April 28, 2010 9:02 PM | Report abuse

Fired? Surely you are jesting, Barry Obama just finished giving them huge across the board raises along with all the other government workers while the private sector has collapse in flames.

The Liberals public sector unions make it IMPOSSIBLE to fire these employees. They will simply at worse be reassigned to another agency where they have even less knowledge of what they are supposed to be actually doing. It is how government works.


In the very small period, I worked as a consultant for a government agency out of college, I watch in utter amazement as three whole floors of banking experts was cleaned out in order to allow the reassignment of lifetime federal employees from the Depts of Education, Agriculture and HUD. After 11 months got another call about my interest in returning to consult on resolving the disaster which had been caused by these replacements. No thanks.

Posted by: LogicalSC | April 28, 2010 9:10 PM | Report abuse

Let's fire 25% of the entire Federal workforce by a lottery in each agency.

Betcha the government would still function.

Posted by: wesatch | April 29, 2010 11:02 AM | Report abuse

In addition to firing, they should also be:
1) Prosecuted for employer fraud, and / or 2) billed to recover wages and benefit costs for non-performance of assigned duties.

Posted by: nip4 | April 29, 2010 11:42 AM | Report abuse

Can anyone verify this:
"VP Biden's visit to the Middle East (Palestine) (I believe in March) was part of a ceremony naming a West Bank Public Square in honor of a Palestine terrorist, who killed Gail Rubin and 37 Israelis, 13 of them children, in a 1978 terrorist attack."

Posted by: Haystack1 | May 1, 2010 6:34 PM | Report abuse

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