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SEC staffers watched porn, not Wall Street

Wall Street employes are busy working moments before the opening bell on the floor of the NYSE on Wall Street in New York City on April 12, 2010. UPI/John Angelillo
Wall Street employes are busy working moments before the opening bell on the floor of the NYSE on Wall Street in New York City on April 12, 2010. UPI/John Angelillo | License Photo

WASHINGTON, April 23 (UPI) -- Some of the federal regulators accused of surfing for pornography while the U.S. financial crisis was unfolding are still on the job, ABC reports.

A report from the Inspector General's office found nearly three dozen Securities and Exchange Commission employees -- about half of them senior staff members -- allegedly spent hours going to porn sites on their government computers in the past 2 1/2 years.

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The SEC has refused to comment on the report but said it takes appropriate action in each case.

ABC, which pegged the number of offenders at 31, reported Friday some of the big offenders still work for the agency. CNN said 33 people were involved.

"During the past five years, the SEC OIG (Office of Inspector General) substantiated that 33 SEC employees and or contractors violated commission rules and policies, as well as the government-wide standards of ethical conduct, by viewing pornographic, sexually explicit or sexually suggestive images using government computer resources and official time," CNN quoted the report's summary as saying.

In one instance, a regional office staff accountant tried to access pornographic Web sites nearly 1,800 times, using her SEC-issued laptop during a two-week period, and saved hundreds of pornographic images on the laptop's hard drive, the report said.

The report also singled out a senior attorney at SEC headquarters who admitted to downloading pornography up to 8 hours a day, exceeding available space on his hard drive and forcing him to download porn "to CDs or DVDs that he accumulated in boxes in his office."

"It is nothing short of disturbing that high-ranking officials within the SEC were spending more time looking at pornography than taking action to help stave off the events that brought our nation's economy to the brink of collapse," said Rep. Darrell Issa, R-Calif., who sits on the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform.

The investigation became known Thursday, the same day President Barack Obama called for reform in the financial industry.

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