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SEC porn scandal continues with lawsuit

By Ed O'Keefe

A Denver lawyer is suing the Securities and Exchange Commission for the names of agency workers disciplined in the past five years for viewing pornography on government computers.

Kevin D. Evans filed suit in Denver federal court on Friday, accusing the agency of violating federal law by not disclosing the names of 33 current and former employees and contractors who viewed pornographic images while on the job. Evans said he's offended by their actions and tired of government waste and abuse.

"What these individuals did is the equivalent of falsely billing a client (in this case taxpayers like you and me)," Evans said in an e-mail to The Eye. "If one does this in private practice one has disciplinary action taken against one, and if the fraud is large enough there is the potential for additional action. Lawyers should not be excused simply because they work for the government."

Evans, who represented the U.S. Olympic Committee in connection with the 2002 Salt Lake City Olympics scandal, said he plans to publicly release the list of names if he wins his case (a long shot, considering federal civil service protections). He also hopes to deter other federal employees from doing something similar by exposing the names of the porn-surfing workers.

"There is no real deterrence without knowing that one's name will be exposed if one engages in such abuse of taxpayer resources and trust," Evans said. News of his lawsuit was first reported by the Washington Times.

None of the SEC employees caught up in the scandal has been fired, according to the agency. Eight of the workers resigned, six were suspended, six were issued informal counseling or warning letters, five received formal reprimands and three are currently on suspension.

Sen. Charles E. Grassley (R-Iowa) is seeking specific salary and disciplinary information for each of the workers and contractors, hoping to learn why they faced different levels of discipline.

Leave your thoughts in the comments section below.

Read the lawsuit:

SEC Porn Complaint

By Ed O'Keefe  | May 12, 2010; 10:09 AM ET
Categories:  Agencies and Departments, Oversight, Workplace Issues  
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Comments

This lawyer either has too much time on his hands, or is seeking to make a name for himself.

Or both.

Posted by: Hillman1 | May 12, 2010 10:29 AM | Report abuse

So often The Hill, activist groups and concerned citizens miss the real solution for a federal problem.

The SEC porn issue is a symptom which generates some ire due to the sexual nature of the offenses; although these were private acts.

The larger issue and the issue which MUST be addressed is the ability for SEC attorneys, and other federal bureaucrats, to hide behind what the above article refers to as: FEDERAL CIVIL SERVICE PROTECTIONS.

Years ago there was justified outrage in Washington for a series of problems with foreign diplomats abusing their diplomatic status. The regulations were changed. The problem was eliminated.

Rather than waste time dealing with bureaucrats who know they are protected and don't care about Senator Graassley or some lawyer from Denver, why doesn't someone on The Hill realize that many federal bureaucrats constantly hide behind federal civil service rules and CHANGE THE RULES! Then the behavior goes away...like magic.

This law suit, probably filed under Freedem of Information is a waste of time as that statute is routinely blocked by the SEC and other federal agencies who understand how to get around FOIA procedures.

I thought we were supposed to be changing the way Washington works? I have not heard any moral outrage from The White House on this issue. I guess they protect their own. Its up to The Hill.

Posted by: colonialdc | May 12, 2010 10:47 AM | Report abuse

He's tired of waste and abuse? Well, then, look in the mirror buddy. Thanks for wasting the government's time on the 'pressing' matter. Bozo.

Posted by: tslats | May 12, 2010 11:12 AM | Report abuse

This Talibanic lawyer seeks to impose Religulous strictures against the Great Liberator of Men, that saving grace we call Internet Porn. Down with Ayatollah Evans and his ilk. Dis-elect Sen. Charles Grassley (R-Iowa)!

Posted by: Religulous | May 12, 2010 11:18 AM | Report abuse

There should be punitative action taken against the SEC folks and anyone else engaged in those activities in every agency.

The problem is why this? Where do you draw the line? Should the government release the names of ALL federal workers who get a less than Satisfactory performance evaluation on the basis they too can be accused of "waste and abuse"? I'm sure it's not hard to come up with a list of all sorts of things that could fall under that category.

So what's the Denver lawyer's fixation with porn?

Posted by: HillRat | May 12, 2010 11:22 AM | Report abuse

If he's concerned with government waste and abuse then workers looking at porn is the least of his problems. He should take that legal knowledge and apply it to more worthwhile lobbying efforts such as reducing wasteful military spending or improving the healthcare system.

Posted by: carbon916 | May 12, 2010 11:28 AM | Report abuse

It's about timer! Go for it. Is Garcia so out of touch that she thinks this is okay, just a slap on the wrist. These people are supposed to be spending time watching, correcting Wall Street. They are effing sexist pigs! Get rid of them and Garcia, too.

Posted by: spryngs | May 12, 2010 11:42 AM | Report abuse

Kudos to this guy. Why should government workers be able to look at porn when they are at work and with government equipment and bandwidth. Any applicable morality considerations aside, these guys should have been fired for being unbelievably stupid and reckless -- especially if they had security clearances.

Posted by: BurgundyNGold | May 12, 2010 11:51 AM | Report abuse

This bottom-feeding lawyer is wasting taxpayer dollars by brining a frivalous lawsuit so he can make a name for himself politically. What a sanctimonious jerk.

Posted by: kschur1 | May 12, 2010 12:06 PM | Report abuse

Oh, please. Everyone looks at porn while on the clock.

Posted by: Dawny_Chambers | May 12, 2010 12:07 PM | Report abuse

I do not know how many employees there are at the SEC, but this entire 'scandal' was unearthed to forestall financial reform efforts in Congress, an attempt to excuse the abuses by Wall Street by attacking the regulators. This type of rule violation occurs in companies, private and public, all the time and in most states the Labor Boards would consider termination unwarranted for first or even second offense. Thirty three employees is a considerable number and the offenses seem worthy of significant disciplne including suspension and/or termination. But that is not why we are talking about this - this is a red herring aimed at giving ammunition to those who would give Wall Street trillions in tax dollars to keep them from going under for their own monumental greed and then allowing business as usual after they have given our money to each other as bonuses - do not be misled - if it were not for the movement toward major reform of financial institutions no one would have heard a word about the porn mongers at the SEC.

Posted by: bmalone1 | May 12, 2010 12:07 PM | Report abuse

I don't know where you work, brnalone1, but my company would fire these staff immediately - as they should be.

This is a simple issue: These slime balls were sucking up tax dollars as federal employees, while not doing their jobs. They work for us and they should be fired. That none have speaks volumes for how much the Obama administration walks all their flatulence about "accountability." It is this same standard which Obama proposes to bring to your healthcare, through a massive expansion of government employees swilling at our tax dollars.

No thank you.

Posted by: hill_marty | May 12, 2010 12:19 PM | Report abuse

When this story broke, I was incredulous that anyone (let alone a senior attorney) at the SEC would go porn surfing on a government computer. Anyone who has watched CSI, Law & Order, Cold Case, etc. et al. for the past 10 years knows that you leave a trail of every web site you visit and that even a wiping a hard drive won't help if your computer is networked. I would simply want to fire these people for being stupid.

Posted by: jhpurdy | May 12, 2010 12:19 PM | Report abuse

@colonialdc, these were not "private acts". They deliberately hacked around system filters to spend hours of paid time to surf porn. They knew it was against policy, they knew why the filters were there, and they weren't doing their jobs. They should be FIRED as most in non-govt jobs are for such offenses. Bravo to Mr. Evans! Set an example so others engaging in this nonsense get the message.

Posted by: kelvinator10 | May 12, 2010 12:29 PM | Report abuse

Spill Baby Spill

So let me get this right- during G.W. Bush's GOP Administration these many staffers appointed to the SEC etc for their Republican election campaign contributions ... the United States is driving off the cliff due to NO regulatory oversight and non-enforcement of the existing laws due to the Republicans pilfering the U.S. Treasury and any other once profitable industry they can extort and/or shake down...

and these high paid Republican SEC lawyer types are massaging their crotches while viewing lewd naked women images 8 hours a day- are't they getting any at home or is it really only just about money for the Republicans and wives are only for mere manipulation???

Posted by: danglingwrangler | May 12, 2010 12:58 PM | Report abuse

So no one was fired, but 8 resigned. The others had disciplinary actions taken against them. The sleaze-bag lawyer just wants publicity - or maybe some wing nuts are financing him to get the attention off their own misdeeds. Either way, scuttle this scum and get on with the business of the people instead of wasting more money on a resolved issue. Maybe we can check Mr. Evans computer trail and see where he's been dipping his mouse.

Posted by: pjohn2 | May 12, 2010 1:28 PM | Report abuse

May we say they diddled while Rome burned? Bust 'em Danno.

Posted by: jpferg1 | May 12, 2010 1:31 PM | Report abuse

May we say they diddled while Rome burned? Bust 'em Danno.

Posted by: jpferg1
-----

Better than what I was going to post.

Posted by: ObamasGulfResponseIsMuchWorseThanKatrina | May 12, 2010 1:38 PM | Report abuse

Ed,

The filters on some of the software blocks and labels sites randomly. It might not actually be porn.

Yesterday I was looking up details on the Federal Career Intern Program. One link on the EPA website took me to a USAjobs.gov link, which was blocked and labeled "Proxy Server".

I've had blogs, linked to by greatergreaterwashing.com be blocked and labelled porn. It was a link to an article about bicycling in the Netherlands.

I've also seen our servers block ads on washingtonpost.com.

Bottomline..they may not have been looking at porn.

Posted by: anarcho-liberal-tarian | May 12, 2010 1:43 PM | Report abuse

These people were earning good salaries at our expense. One individual surfed porn several thousands of times....I would certainly want to know who it was.

It may be the lawyer is out to make a name for himself....I don't care...I would like to see their names published.

Posted by: Badger21 | May 12, 2010 1:44 PM | Report abuse

Seems to me there's a lot of gov't employees posting here. I rather thought he was doing what the government and SEC were not doing. Didn't seem to me there was any house cleaning, not even a taking away of their computers. Wonder what they are watching now!

Posted by: charlesalaska | May 12, 2010 1:55 PM | Report abuse

Let him have all the time in the world and he is correct this should not be brushed under the rug when any Jo Smoke would have been fired and still paying for a moment of pleasure...

Posted by: shadon1 | May 12, 2010 2:12 PM | Report abuse

What sites were they watching and were they pay sites? Perhaps the taxpayers got the bill.

Posted by: iamafg | May 12, 2010 2:35 PM | Report abuse

i want to know what was so interesting that they put their jobs at risk

LOL

oh.... THAT :)

Posted by: nall92 | May 12, 2010 2:43 PM | Report abuse

Fine. Punish everyone who does not work 100% of their hours, Any slacking should be enough to fire them.

Then see who is left.

Posted by: GaryEMasters | May 12, 2010 2:53 PM | Report abuse

Why dopes all this junk come up with Ed's name opn top?

What is he up top?

Posted by: GaryEMasters | May 12, 2010 2:55 PM | Report abuse

The lawyer is right to sue the agency for the names. Those who dismiss his actions as a waste or whatever have missed the point. The SEC employees have neglected to enforce regulations for 8 years. They should have at least been studying the SEC regs instead of viewing porn (they can do that at home).

In addition the employees of the MMS who were doing drugs and having sex with oil company employees (also in the Denver Office) should be held accountable....by termination! if possible, but at least by citing their names publicly.

Once again the Fed agencies (Interior and SEC) lack the professionalism (or prefer to circle the wagons) even when there are legitimate criticisms from personnel outside their agencies.

Posted by: tylerkyle999 | May 12, 2010 2:57 PM | Report abuse

Go for it. Why stop at the SEC?

Posted by: wesatch | May 12, 2010 3:06 PM | Report abuse

All the porn web surfers should be fired!! They can work in the real world-meaning they will now have to WORK for a living! Plus they should be fined the equivalant of their wages and benefits for the hours they were viewing porn.This is what happens when the Frat boys get to run wall street and hire them to work in the govt.

Posted by: lsf07 | May 12, 2010 3:12 PM | Report abuse

Remember folks, that while these SEC lawyers were watching porn, Wall Street companies were gambling with your retirement pension funds, your home mortgages, your home equity, your jobs, and your homes.....think about it.

Posted by: logcabin1836 | May 12, 2010 3:28 PM | Report abuse

I worked on a contract with a major government agency and surfing porn was a favorite past time for many including senior level officials.

The security officer made a big show of going to their offices and embarrassing them but in reality no charges or disciplinary action was ever taken.

There were other eggregious security breaches that occured but when I reported them to the IG about two weeks later I WAS FIRED!

This has been going on for a long time and I commend this lawyer for at least trying.

If I thought naming the agency wouldn't entirely ruin my finances and family I would.

Posted by: pgobe | May 12, 2010 3:30 PM | Report abuse

federal workers surf porn because they can...one nearly has to commit a homicidal act to lose his government job, hey I can see Greece from here

Posted by: michaelhunt277 | May 12, 2010 3:52 PM | Report abuse

Anyone criticizing Evans' lawsuit is obviously a porn-surfing gummint bureaucrat!

When is the last time ANY gummint head rolled? September 11th, Katrina, Wall Street, Iraq invasion. When was the last time there was ANY accountability for gummint "workers"?

Posted by: pmendez | May 12, 2010 4:23 PM | Report abuse

Porn should not be allowed at work.
Anyone doing it should be fired if warned prior.
Unless the SEC does something, nothing will happen.
Lawsuits are a good way to push for action.

Knowing who they are and not reporting them is scandalous.
Is this agency going to be accountable for anything?
Many workers, not 2 or 3, were caught and not one firing?

Why not investigate other agencies as well?

Posted by: anonymouscfo | May 14, 2010 8:09 PM | Report abuse

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