02/28/2009 05:12 am ET Updated Dec 06, 2017

GOP Lawmaker Up In Arms Over Porny Scientists

Iowa Senator Charles Grassley is going on a hunt -- a hunt for perversion! -- and he's got the National Science Foundation square in his sights. What's going on at the NSF? Apparently, the employees there are knee-deep in online smut!

Grassley, the ranking member of the Senate Finance Committee, on Tuesday fired off a letter to the NSF's inspector general requesting all documents related to the "numerous reports" and seven investigations into "Abuse of NSF IT Resources" cited in the foundation's 68-page semiannual report.

Despite the less-than-lurid sound of the probes, the employees in question weren't just logging onto their Facebook accounts or buying birthday gifts on The report says they were watching, downloading and e-mailing porn, sometimes for significant portions of their workdays, and over periods of months or even years.

We're sure that there's not a single other government agency for which the same cannot be said!

Well, in fairness, the NSF has this one guy whose love for online porn borders on the heroic:

In one particularly egregious case, the report says one NSF "senior official" was discovered to have spent as much as 20 percent of his working hours over a two-year interval "viewing sexually explicit images and engaging in sexually explicit online 'chats' with various women."

Investigators calculated the value of the time lost at more than $58,000 -- for that employee alone.

Eeegh! Indeed, the NSF sounds like a vile place to work. But, in their defense, let's recall that if they'd been given more to do under the Bush administration, they might not have had to turn to pornography to pass the time. As Chris Mooney said on Monday night's Colbert Report, the administration was "undermining scientific knowledge on a lot of different issues that have a lot of policy implications." Who wouldn't turn to onanism? Someone should do a study!