Lawmakers on Capitol Hill are closing in on a crucial piece of legislation to combat only the most pressing of issues plaguing the federal government right now, and that’s porn.
On Wednesday the House Oversight Committee on Government Reform approved a measure sponsored by Rep. Mark Meadows (R-NC) that officially bans federal employees from looking at porn while on the job (because apparently that rule has not yet been made clear in some offices).
The bill was introduced last year after an inspector general investigation found that at least one Environmental Protection Agency employee was watching a ton of porn on his government computer—from two to six hours a day. Overall, the worker had downloaded at least 7,000 files of porn since 2010.
The IG report revealed that EPA officials knew about the incident back in May, yet during a Congressional hearing in September, it was learned that that said employee was still on the agency's payroll while taking administrative leave.
What’s worse, officials from the committee said the employee, who is a GS-14 staffer earning between $106,000 and $139,000, had also been receiving performance awards during this time period.
It’s unclear whether the employee has since been terminated.
He’s not alone. Last year, The Washington Times reported that a Federal Communications Commission employee was caught watching up to eight hours of porn each week at work. His reason, according to auditors was that “he often does not have enough work to do and has free time.”
Under the Eliminating Pornography from Agencies act (…yes, that is the actual title), the Office of Management and Budget is required to establish guidelines to prohibit watching porn and accessing obscene materials on government devices.
“It’s a shame that we would even have to be considering a piece of legislation to address this issue,” Meadows said. He called his bill “common sense for the vast majority of Americans that you should not be watching pornography on the taxpayer dime.”
Top Reads from The Fiscal Times: