The Securities and Exchange Commission’s Office of Inspector General found that at least 33 SEC employees and contractors used government computers to view pornographic images in the past five years.

In doing so, the employees and contractors violated SEC rules and policies, as well as government-wide standards of ethical conduct. Many of the employees were at a senior level and earned substantial salaries. Several admitted in sworn testimony that they had misused resources and official time to view pornography.

A regional office supervisory staff accountant admitted that he frequently viewed pornography at work on his SEC computer for about a year, and that he accessed pornography on his SEC-issued laptop computer while on official government travel. The OIG also found numerous pornographic images stored on the hard drive of his government computer.

Another regional office staff accountant received over 16,000 access denials for Web sites classified by the SEC’s Internet filter as either “sex” or “pornography” in a one-month period. In addition, the hard drive of the employee’s SEC laptop contained numerous sexually suggestive and inappropriate images.

A Division of Corporation Finance staff accountant admitted that he accessed Internet pornography on a repeated basis during and after work hours and, on certain SEC workdays, he spent up to five hours accessing Internet pornography. This employee also admitted opening accounts with Internet pornography sites using his SEC computer, that he bookmarked sites containing sexually explicit videos or images as his Web site favorites, and that he had uploaded a sexually explicit video file from his SEC computer onto one of the Web sites he had joined.