SEC porn surfing draws Republican ire

The Securities and Exchange Commission is drawing Republican criticism following reports that senior agency staff used government-issued computers to surf pornographic websites, according to the Associated Press.

An internal memo obtained by the AP said the SEC's inspector general has investigated 33 employees for looking at porn in the past five years, and 31 of those probes occurred since the financial turmoil began. This conduct violates governmentwide ethics rules, the memo stated.

Rep. Darrell Issa, R-Calif., the ranking member of 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."

The IG report found that a senior official in Washington who later resigned spent eight hours a day looking at explicit images, and an accountant was blocked more than 16,000 times in a month from visiting pornographic websites. The accountant received a 14-day suspension.

According to the AP, Republicans already are suspicious of the timing of an SEC lawsuit against investment firm Goldman Sachs, which came as the Senate prepared to overhaul financial regulations. Lawmakers have accused the SEC of being influenced by politics after agency commissioners approved the charges against Goldman 3-2. The two dissenting votes came from Republicans.

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