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Going After the Federal Government's Porn Problem

By    |   Friday, 01 May 2015 05:42 PM

Rep. Glenn Grothman castigated the Environmental Protection Agency on Thursday for lacking common sense and endangering the U.S. economy.

Stanley Meiburg, the EPA's acting deputy administrator, was in the hot seat for a House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform hearing titled "EPA Mismanagement."

Meiburg had to answer some uncomfortable questions, like, why are EPA employees getting paid to look at porn on taxpayer time?

"There is no federal agency [that] is perceived to lack common sense more, and doing more to endanger the American economy, than the EPA," said Grothman, a Republican from Wisconsin.

"Now this isn't exactly the type of hearing that I thought I was signing up for when I ran for this job. I thought I was going to talk to the EPA about what your people are doing when they come up with these ridiculous ozone rules," he said.

"Now we know what at least some of them are doing. Is it really true that some of these people were spending two to six hours a day watching porn?"

It is.

Last year, a report by the EPA's inspector general revealed that an unidentified agency employee was watching as much as six hours of porn a day on his office computer and had downloaded some 7,000 pornographic files. As of late March, the employee remained on paid administrative leave.

"When an OIG special agent arrived at this employee's work space to conduct an interview, the special agent witnessed the employee actively viewing pornography on his government-issued computer," Allan Williams, deputy assistant inspector general for investigations at the EPA, told the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee last year.

When asked why the employee remains employed with the federal government, EPA administrator Gina McCarthy snapped, "I actually have to work through the administrative process, as you know."

The significantly bigger problem, according to Grothman and other EPA critics, is the policies and red-tape regulations the agency has promulgated in recent years that threaten American business and the economy at large.

In particular, the agency's proposed CO2 rules and the disastrous impact they are projected to have on U.S. coal-fired power plants and the manufacturers who depend on them. And the EPA's push to preemptively kill development projects without the usual regulatory review because the agency deems them dangerous to the environment.

Because, again, they need a law for that, Rep. Mark Meadows, a North Carolina Republican, this year introduced the Eliminating Pornography from Agencies Act.

Yes, the federal government's porn problem goes beyond the EPA.

A Washington Times investigation last year found pornography on computers at several federal agencies.

The review of investigation records obtained through a Freedom of Information Act request uncovered employees busted watching porn at work. They often blamed a lack of work for their extracurricular activities.

"He stated he is aware it is against government rules and regulations, but he often does not have enough work to do and has free time," investigators wrote of a Treasury Department employee who viewed more than 13,000 pornographic images in a six-week span, according to the Washington Times piece.

"To ignore this issue would not only condone an abuse of taxpayers' dollars, but also embrace an unhealthy workplace," Meadows said in a statement in late March.

But there already are prohibitions against porn and other unauthorized activities on the federal government job.

A Congressional Budget Office report last month noted Meadows' bill would not have a significant cost impact because the "use of government property for unauthorized purposes is already prohibited."

Yet, federal government employees keep doing it.

"While there are rules in place at most agencies to ban this kind of unprofessional and unacceptable workplace behavior, it continues to take place. There is absolutely no excuse for federal employees to be viewing or downloading pornographic materials on the taxpayers' dime," Meadows said.

M.D. Kittle is national First Amendment reporter at Watchdog.org. Contact him at mkittle@watchdog.org.

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Rep. Glenn Grothman castigated the Environmental Protection Agency on Thursday for lacking common sense and endangering the U.S. economy.
EPA, porn, pornography, workers, computers, federal government, watch, hours, wasted
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2015-42-01
Friday, 01 May 2015 05:42 PM
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