abc news photoThis is disgusting. The consequences for such highly dysfunctional behavior in the Securities Exchange Commission, or lack of them, will tell us a lot about the state of our government and the press right now.

Will the porn revelation be a game-changer in the financial crisis and push for reform?

Senior staffers at the Securities and Exchange Commission were surfing Internet pornography when they should have been policing the financial system. A deeply disturbing SEC memo to Senator Chuck Grassley (R-IA) exposing this problem was reported Thursday night by ABC News. Here are some highlights via the Associated Press:

Or lowlights. Get ready….this is no joke. Serious stuff.

_A senior attorney at the SEC’s Washington headquarters spent up to eight hours a day looking at and downloading pornography. When he ran out of hard drive space, he burned the files to CDs or DVDs, which he kept in boxes around his office. He agreed to resign, an earlier watchdog report said.

_An accountant was blocked more than 16,000 times in a month from visiting websites classified as “Sex” or “Pornography.” Yet, he still managed to amass a collection of “very graphic” material on his hard drive by using Google images to bypass the SEC’s internal filter, according to an earlier report from the inspector general. The accountant refused to testify in his defense and received a 14-day suspension.

That’s it?! A two-week suspension?!

These were not some ‘lackeys’ in the SEC. And note, it was far more than one.

_Seventeen of the employees were “at a senior level,” earning salaries of up to $222,418.

_The number of cases jumped from two in 2007 to 16 in 2008. The cracks in the financial system emerged in mid-2007 and spread into full-blown panic by the fall of 2008.

So this was all going on simultaneously. One more tumbler falls into place.

When on the verge of the most major economic crisis in around 80 years, they were watching porn instead of the financial system.

Sheila Liaugminas

Sheila Liaugminas is an Emmy award-winning Chicago-based journalist in print and broadcast media. Her writing and broadcasting covers matters of faith, culture, politics and the media....