Regulatory Onanism

Terrance Heath

How, many people have asked since news broke about Bernie Madoff’s $50 billion ponzi scheme, could regulators have let such a blatant criminal slip through their fingers?

We know, now.

The Securities and Exchange Commission is the sheriff of the financial industry, looking for crimes such as Bernard Madoff’s Ponzi scheme, but a new government report obtained by ABC News has concluded that some senior employees spent hours on the agency’s computers looking at sites such as naughty.com, skankwire and youporn as the financial crisis was unfolding.

"These guys in the middle of a financial crisis are spending their time looking at prurient material on the Internet," said Peter Morici, a professor at the University of Maryland and former director of the Office of Economics at the U.S. International Trade Commission.

"It’s reckless, and indicates a contempt for the taxpayer and the taxpayer’s interest in monitoring financial markets," Morici said.

…One senior attorney at SEC headquarters in Washington spent up to eight hours a day accessing Internet porn, according to the report, which has yet to be released. When he filled all the space on his government computer with pornographic images, he downloaded more to CDs and DVDs that accumulated in boxes in his offices.

Clearly, they already had their hands full.

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