One lawmaker just introduced a bill that zeroes in on a very specific issue that has apparently plagued the federal government for years—porn.
There is now legislation, authored by Rep. Mark Meadows (R-NC) that would ban employees from looking at porn during work.
Though it sounds random, it’s not.
Earlier this year, a top official at the Environmental Protection Agency was busted for watching porn—lots of porn—on his government-issued computer during work.
Federal investigators found out that the employee had downloaded at least 7,000 files of pornography and logged between two and six hours of porn watching a day since 2010. Although this incident was the subject of a heated congressional hearing---the official received little more than a slap on the wrist.
“How much pornography would it take for an EPA employee to lose their job?" House Oversight and Government Reform Committee Chairman Darrell Issa (R-CA) asked at the hearing in May.
Apparently more than 7,000 files—since this EPA official is still on the job and collecting a hefty paycheck, according to Environment and Energy Publishing.
In fact, the Oversight and Government Reform Committee says 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.
That official wasn’t the only federal worker watching porn while on the clock. Earlier this year, a Federal Communications Commission employee was caught watching up to eight hours of porn each week at work, the Washington Examiner reported. His reason, according to auditors was that “he often does not have enough work to do and has free time.”
Though most agencies like the EPA have guidelines against this type of behavior at work, Meadows says they aren’t doing a good enough job enforcing them. That’s where his bill comes in—he added that his bill would cover other inappropriate uses of time as well.
“It’s not just casual porn viewing, but hours and hours of unproductive time doing things we shouldn’t be condoning. There seems to be a need to reinforce agency rules that might be in place, but not enforced,” Meadows told The Washington Post.
Under Meadows’ legislation, the Office of Management and Budget would be required to issue federal guidelines prohibiting the viewing of pornography on government computers. Of course, as OMB officials have clarified, watching porn likely already falls under existing guidelines against the misuse of government property. Still, perhaps some federal workers need more clarification.
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