Thursday, October 1, 2009

Get Paid to Look at Porn




The Washington Times is reporting that employees viewing porn while working for the National Science Foundation (NSF) are costing the U.S. taxpayers a pretty penny. While it's none of my business whether anyone looks at online porn, it is my business when it's being done with my money. Believe me. While I've never gone online to see it, there have been times (mostly in my younger years) I've been the one to rent the video in anticipation of a fun night.

The NSF is a federal agency that gives out billions of tax dollars every year for scientific research grants. The problem of surfing the Internet for porn increased six-fold last year and has forced the inspector general who oversees wasteful spending within the agency to switch gears. The IG has had to cut back drastically on fraud and wasteful spending investigations in order to address the problem. Recovery of wasted tax dollars has also taken a back burner.

A recent request for more staff has been made by the IG to Congress. The request also asks for more funding to properly address the problem.

The number of cases and investigations wasn't revealed, but The Times obtained some information as to just how pervasive of a problem this is at the federal agency through a Freedom of Information Act filing. Wait until you see how our tax dollars are being spent, folks.

One senior executive spent at least 331 days looking at porn and chatting with nude or partially-nude women. He went completely undetected. That's almost a whole frickin' year! My guess is that the other 34 days in the year were probably spent on vacation with his family away from his work computer. Wait...it gets better.

When this sleazeball was finally caught, he retired. His reason for doing all of this on our dime? He did it for these poor overseas women in order for them to make a living. What a humanitarian! Give that man the Nobel Peace Prize! Unbelievable.

Oh...and the cost to you and I for his online strokefests? Between $13,800 and $58,000 according to investigators.

The NSF is wholly funded by the U.S. taxpayers to the tune of approximately $6 billion as of 2008. The foundation gives grants to various groups and universities for scientific research. Some of the projects that have been funded through the NSF include genome mapping of the potato and space exploration with powerful new telescopes. The agency has about 1,200 career employees.

The foundation's inspector general provided documents to The Times that show that 10 investigations were closed last year, up from three in 2006. Seven cases were reported in 2007. Of the 10 last year, seven involved online porn. And that doesn't count the pending cases.

Leslie Paige, a spokeswoman for the nonpartisan watchdog Citizens Against Government Waste, called the situation "inexcusable."

"What kind of oversight is there when they have to shift people from looking at grant fraud to watch for people looking at pornography?" she said.

Foundation spokeswoman Dana Topousis said officials have enacted more rigorous computer training and tightened controls to filter out inappropriate Internet addresses from the sites employees can access from their work computers. Why wasn't this done from the start? Guess it makes too much sense.

The foundation's inspector general uncovers scientific misconduct that can force the return of misused grant money to the government but told Congress it was diverted from that mission by the porn cases.

The office was unable to immediately provide an estimate of how much money the projected decline in investigative recoveries will cost taxpayers. According to congressional reports, overall investigative recoveries by the watchdog agency totaled more than $2 million for the year ending March 31.

The porn problem at the NSF came to light in short summaries by the inspector general during a semiannual report submitted to Congress. The report caught the attention of Senator Charles Grassley (R-IA), the ranking Republican on the Senate Finance Committee. Grassley immediately launched an inquiry that brought some unwanted media attention. Not enough if you ask me.

More than 120 investigative documents submitted to The Times do not include internal investigations conducted without the help of the inspector general's office. In other words, it's been going on a hell of a lot more than anyone knows.

"The employees who were investigated were disciplined in one way or another," Ms. Topousis said, adding that she could not comment on individual disciplinary actions.

Last year, one employee paid an undisclosed sum after investigators found that in June of 2008, hundreds of pornographic sites had been visited. The employee got a 10-day suspension. Wow! That's harsh!

Another employee in a different case was caught with hundreds of pictures, videos and even PowerPoint slide shows containing pornography. Asked by an investigator whether he had completed any government work on a day when a significant amount of pornography was downloaded, the employee responded, "Um, I can't remember," according to records. Ah...the Hillary Clinton Whitewater defense.

The employee also said that friends sent him the pornographic files, that he never planned on viewing them and that he never got around to deleting the files, a claim one official later called "simply not believable." Finally! Someone without blinders on!

Suspended for 10 days, the employee unsuccessfully appealed the decision after arguing that it was too harsh. Other employees were terminated.

Another employee who stored nude images of herself on her computer told investigators she mistakenly had downloaded the pictures. She received counseling and was told to adhere to the foundation's policies on computer use. Translation: Don't do that again, young lady. Boy, I'd be shaking in my boots!

The foundation is hardly the only government agency to be embarrassed by disclosures about employees looking at pornography at work.

The inspector general for the Securities and Exchange Commission noted in a report last fall that it had recently conducted three investigations into employees who misused government computers to view pornography.

At the time of the report, one employee had been fired and another suspended, while disciplinary action against a third was pending.

Time to stop all the sticky government keyboards, folks!



8 comments:

Teresa said...

Great Post! Loved the pics!

I am sure that this is just one of many examples of how our government is wasting our tax dollars. This is most definitely inexcusable. Must be stopped. I thought good ole Barry was going to rid waste from the system. I guess that's another broken campaign promise.

blackandgoldfan said...

Thanks, Teresa! Barry would plead ignorance about any waste going on in Washington. I could hear him now...

"Um...uh...we need a bipartisan...uh...um...deal...in order to ah....hmmmm...curb wasteful spending....MICHELLE!!! Take the designer duds off! I'm trying to talk about wasteful spending! Wait until the cameras and microphones are gone!"

j summ said...

teresa makes my point for me. we were going to cut waste. well,lets get rid of these assholes, and with the money saved we can help end our "holocaust" of uninsured/under insured citizens.

blackandgoldfan said...

jsumm: Think of all the money that could be saved if we got rid of Congress. Damn! That's a sum I'd like to see the bottom line on!

Bungalow Bill said...

Wow, porn has now crossed the redistribution of wealth argument. It's just sad.

blackandgoldfan said...

Hey BB! Can't be investigating fraud now, can we? I just think it's sad that grant fraud has to take a back seat to this waste of our time and money.

Amusing Bunni said...

These Pervs should all be fired. This was a great post, you wrote some funny stuff, B & G. But, what's not funny is that we are paying SO much money for all this mess. Obugger is probably one of the biggest clients of the online porn site, (gay ones, no doubt) He's going to eliminate waste? HA! The only thing he's eliminating is our money, constitution and freedoms.

blackandgoldfan said...

BOF: Amen, sista!