It is a generality of American political discourse that, in the wake of crisis, liberals rush to creating new rules and regulations, and conservatives wonder why the current ones weren’t being enforced.
Well here’s a partial answer to the conservative question. While the financial world tumbled and the country fell into an economic abyss, Securities and Exchange Commission officials were surfing for porn.
In a memo provided by request of Sen. Chuck Grassley (R., Iowa), the SEC’s inspector general says he’s conducted 31 probes (harhar) into employees looking at explicit images in the 30 months since the financial crisis. Some low-lights:
• A senior attorney at the SEC’s Washington headquarters spent up to eight hours a day looking at and downloading pornography. When he ran out of hard drive space, he burned the files to CDs or DVDs, which he kept in boxes around his office. He agreed to resign, an earlier watchdog report said.
• An accountant was blocked more than 16,000 times in a month from visiting websites classified as “Sex” or “Pornography.” Yet he still managed to amass a collection of “very graphic” material on his hard drive by using Google images to bypass the SEC’s internal filter, according to an earlier report from the inspector general. The accountant refused to testify in his defense, and received a 14-day suspension.
• Seventeen of the employees were “at a senior level,” earning salaries of up to $222,418.
• The number of cases jumped from two in 2007 to 16 in 2008. The cracks in the financial system emerged in mid-2007 and spread into full-blown panic by the fall of 2008.