I wish there were a way to indict an entire government commission. Okay, well, maybe just the senior staff?
I'm speaking, of course, about the Security and Exchange Commission where as many as 33 of its top management - including senior lawyers and accountants - were apparently too busy looking at triple X-rated internet porn sites to notice brewing financial tsunamis like the implosion of the U.S. housing market, the demise of giant Lehman Brothers and rouge billionaire investment gurus like Bernie Madoff and Robert Allen Stanford who, together, decimated countless thousands of American's retirement plans.
It was the S.E.C.'s job to look out for our financial well-being and we now see how miserably they failed. As Wall Street quaked, the financial structure of America began to crumble and Ponzi schemes percolated these Bozos were more worried about feeding their own sexual appetites.
Just a short time after the Office of Inspector General's recent Porn-Gate report made news it was revealed that the S.E.C. had filed a blockbuster mortgage fraud suit against investment giant Goldman Sachs. Headlines screamed the news, Congress immediately jumped on the "we've-got-to-have-hearings-on-this!" bandwagon and attention was averted away from the S.E.C. employees own criminality.
I want to shine the spotlight back where it belongs. And I don't use the word "criminality" lightly.
Some of these top echelon employees were raking in as much as $222,000.00 a year, all taxpayer money of course. These ne'er do wells, one who was reported to have spent at least 8 hours a day for weeks on-end perusing and downloading porn sites, might as well have walked into a convenience store and stolen all the cash out of the register. Stealing is stealing.
This report on porn viewing at the S.E.C. is chilling in its detail. It concludes that most of the X-rated behavior began in 2008 just as the U.S. economy began to wobble and the problem hasn't stopped! The most recent case of an S.E.C. executive spending more time surfing nasty sites than working on our behalf occurred just a few weeks ago.
One senior S.E.C. attorney spent so much time drooling over and capturing pornographic images on his office computer that he ran out of space on his hard drive. He began to download the lewd material onto discs which filled multiple boxes and were stored right there in his government office. This is an attorney who surely knew what he was doing was wrong.
A female S.E.C. accountant tried to access vulgar porn sites 1,800 times in just one two-week period. Investigators found 600 pornographic images burned on to her government-issued laptop computer's hard drive.
Another S.E.C. accountant brought his own sexually explicit videos in to work and used the Commission's computer to upload them to porn club sites he'd joined on line. And a regional staffer's computer showed that he'd tried to access pornographic websites but was stopped by the Commission's Internet filter 16,000 times in one month! That averages out to 800 times every work day! What the heck was this guy doing in between trying to view porn?
Mike Leahy, author of the bestselling book "Porn Nation", asked about that type behavior, said simply, "Trust me, these guys are addicts."
Two years after the porn-fest at the S.E.C. began it is little comfort that they've now apparently been shamed into using their computers only for official business. It's somehow just not enough when the S.E.C.'s spokesman, John Nester, announces that, "Each of the offending employees has been disciplined or is in the process of being disciplined ... Some have already been suspended or dismissed."
Really? Just "some" of them? And, what about the possibility of criminal charges being filed against the worst offenders - maybe charges of accepting government funds under false pretenses - because I sure feel like I've been ripped off ... in more ways than one!
It's not just the pornography scandal that should force a major revamp of the S.E.C. It's the culture of uncaring evident for many years there that must change. Way back in 2000 the S.E.C. was warned about the unscrupulous activities of billionaire con man Bernie Madoff. He should have been thoroughly investigated and stopped then yet it took nine years to bring him to justice. The S.E.C. first heard that Robert Allen Stanford was up to no good in 1997 yet his scheme continued for more than a decade, growing to an astounding 8 billion dollars.
I don't hear Congress clamoring to hold hearings on the Securities and Exchange Commission but I think they should. Those S.E.C. scoundrels who spent time sexually arousing themselves instead of doing the job we taxpayers paid for should have to pay a price.
Follow Diane Dimond on Twitter: www.twitter.com/dianedimond