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GOP Rep. Mark Meadows' Bill Bans Porn on Government Computers

Image: GOP Rep. Mark Meadows' Bill Bans Porn on Government Computers
Rep. Mark Meadows, R-N.C. (Lawler Duggan/Reuters/Landov)

By    |   Thursday, 25 Sep 2014 03:09 PM

The flap that resulted after an Environmental Protection Agency employee who admitted to viewing porn at work but who then remained on the federal payroll compelled North Carolina Rep. Mark Meadows to act.

On Sept. 18, Meadows, a Republican, introduced the Eliminating Pornography from Agencies Act, a measure that would bar federal employees from accessing pornographic or explicit material on their government-issued computers and other mobile devices.

"It's appalling that it requires an act of Congress to ensure that federal agencies block access to these sites at work," Meadows said in a press release.

"This bill is a common-sense measure that ensures federal workers aren't viewing pornographic materials on the taxpayers' dime," he added.

Days before Meadows introduced his bill, Environment and Energy Daily reported that the employee had not been terminated and was still on the EPA payroll.

"This employee continues to be investigated by the [Office of the Inspector General] and U.S. Attorney's Office, and we are working with these offices to obtain information necessary to move forward with administrative action," EPA spokeswoman Liz Purchia told the paper.

In fact, Meadows told Fox News in May that the employee also received a bonus.

"How many have we fired? Out of all these people, and the answer was zero," Meadows told host Greta van Susteren of the response he received from investigators who testified before Congress.

The case of the EPA official watching porn at work was disclosed in a May inspector general's report detailing 16 employee integrity cases that were closed between October 2013 and March 2014.

According to the report, the employee pleaded guilty to accessing child pornography in 2012. It was revealed at a subsequent hearing that the employee was viewing as much as 6 hours of pornography a day in his government office.

Earl Devaney, former chairman of the Recovery Act Transparency and Accountability Board, told E&E that EPA is limited in taking action against the employee if prosecutors are involved in negotiations.

"The fact that they've accepted it as a crime suggests to me that it's something more than just watching, let's call it regular porn," said Devaney indicating that more serious crimes might be involved.

In fact, E&E notes, performance-related terminations at the EPA are not common. With approximately 16,000 staffers, only five have been terminated due to discipline or performance issues to date in fiscal 2014.

Ten were relieved of their positions in 2013.

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The flap that resulted after an Environmental Protection Agency employee who admitted to viewing porn at work but who then remained on the federal payroll compelled North Carolina Rep. Mark Meadows to act.
porn, federal, workers, bill, prohibits, Mark Meadows
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2014-09-25
Thursday, 25 Sep 2014 03:09 PM
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