SEC's Porn Problem
Now we know why the Securities and Exchange Commission missed Bernie Madoff's multibillion-dollar Ponzi scheme.
Senior employees at the SEC spent hours surfing pornographic Web sites when they should have been policing the financial system, according to a scathing report released late last week from the SEC's Inspector General David Kotz. The Inspector General conducted 33 probes of employees looking at sexually explicit images over the past five years, with the majority of incidents occurring during the depths of the financial crisis.
Among the highlights — or should we say lowlights — of Kotz's report is the story of a senior attorney at the SEC's Washington headquarters who spent up to eight hours a day viewing and downloading pornography. And what did this randy regulator do when he ran out of hard-drive space on his government-issued computer? He burned the filthy files onto CDs or DVDs and stored them in his office, of course.
By the way, he's no longer with the agency. No word as to what happened to the boxes containing his porn collection, however.
Another shocker from Kotz is the tale of the enterprising accountant who was blocked more than 16,000 times in a month from visiting Web sites classified as "sex" or "pornography." Undeterred, the bawdy bean-counter used Google (GOOG) (Stock Quote: GOOG) images to get around the SEC's internal filter in order to amass his own significant stash. This particular government employee, let it be known, received a 14-day suspension for his improprieties.
All told, 17 of the employees identified in the report were "at a senior level," earning salaries of up to $222,418. So it's not like these were overeducated, underpaid bureaucrats fiddling about while the global economy burned.
Just a bunch of overstimulated, underworked ones.
Dumb-o-meter score: 75 — Who said government work isn't sexy?