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Federal Eye
Posted at 09:48 AM ET, 03/09/2011

SEC porn sting netted workers in 7 cities

The 33 Securities and Exchange Commission employees and contractors reprimanded last year for accessing pornography on agency computers worked in Washington, D.C. and six regional offices, according to documents released as part of a lawsuit.

The employees and contractors worked at agency offices in Atlanta, Boston, Chicago, Denver, Fort Worth, Los Angeles and Washington; the documents didn’t disclose how many worked at each office. Denver-area attorney Kevin D. Evans, who sued the SEC last May for more information on the pornography sting, obtained the information as part of a Freedom of Information Act request.

The agency contractors caught up in the sting worked for Labat-Anderson, CACI International, Garda Security, Keane Federal and ISN Corporation.

Evans has defended clients in securities cases and is involved in ongoing litigation against the agency. He said he pursued information about the pornography matter because it “galled me to no end” that SEC employees were spending “hours and hours over weeks and weeks” viewing porn while collecting government pay.

But his legal case regarding the pornography sting ended in December when a federal judge denied a request to publicly release the names of the disciplined employees and contractors, citing federal privacy laws. Until Congress changes those laws, which permit agencies to withhold sensitive personnel information, “I think FOIA requesters will continue to get stiffed” in their attempts to learn more about government employees and contractors implicated in such investigations, he said.

Several of the employees involved in the pornography investigation held senior positions and earned between $99,300 and $222,418 per year, according to the SEC inspector general investigation. Three of the incidents occurred in 2010, 10 in 2009, 16 in 2008, two in 2007 and one each in 2006 and 2005.

Staff writer David S. Hilzenrath contributed to this report.

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