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SEC staffers watched porn as economy crashed

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SEC staffers caught surfing porn on job
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • SEC investigation: Dozens of employees, contractors surfed porn sites on work computers
  • Staffers violated government-wide ethics rules, report finds
  • Report: All cases occurred while country was teetering on verge of financial collapse
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(CNN) -- As the country was sinking into its worst financial crisis in more than 70 years, Security and Exchange Commission employees and contractors cruised porn sites and viewed sexually explicit pictures using government computers, an SEC investigation obtained by CNN showed.

"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," said a summary of the investigation by the inspector general's office.

More than half of the workers made between $99,000 and $223,000. All the cases took place over the past five years.

"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. The Republican is a ranking member of the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform.

"This stunning report should make everyone question the wisdom of moving forward with plans to give regulators like the SEC even more widespread authority," he said. "Inexplicably, rather than exercise its existing regulatory enforcement authority, SEC officials were preoccupied with other distractions."