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SEC says no staffers were fired in porn investigation

By Ed O'Keefe
Wednesday, April 28, 2010; B03

None of the Securities and Exchange Commission employees caught using government computers to view pornography has been fired, the agency's inspector general said Tuesday night.

Of the 28 employees investigated for accessing inappropriate images and Web sites, eight resigned and six were suspended for periods lasting one to 14 days, the inspector general, H. David Kotz, said in an letter Tuesday to Sen. Charles E. Grassley (R-Iowa). Five were issued formal reprimands, six were issued informal counseling or warning letters, and three are facing disciplinary action.

Five contractors who were investigated were removed from their contracts, Kotz added.

The SEC comes up with different numbers, but they also add up to no firings.

The staffers accessed the Web sites and images by using Google and Yahoo search engines and by disabling Internet filters on the computers, Kotz said.

Grassley asked SEC Chairman Mary L. Schapiro to clarify why the workers faced different levels of discipline. Schapiro sent a memo to her employees Friday stating that anyone who violates the agency's rules on computer use will be fired.

Grassley also asked Schapiro for specific salary and disciplinary information about the 33 workers and contractors.

"We look forward to responding to Senator Grassley in detail," SEC spokesman John Nester said in an e-mail.

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