Congressman wants to legally ban federal employees from watching porn at work

Congressman wants to legally ban federal employees from watching porn at work
Viewing pornography on the job is presumably something that employees most anywhere are frowned upon for doing, in the least, but one American lawmaker says legislation is needed to keep federal workers from browsing X-rated material on the clock.

United States Rep. Mark Meadows (R-NC) introduced a law last week that aims to ensure something that many may already assume is against the rules when it comes to basic workplace etiquette, especially with regards to government jobs. Rep. Meadow’s bill, the Eliminating Pornography from Agencies Act, would officially prohibit workers on Uncle Sam’s payroll from browsing adult content on federal computer and devices.

Meadows said in a statement last week that he was provoked to push for such a law after learning that an employee at the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) continued to receive paychecks from the government after an internal report reviewed that the individual had watched upwards of 6 hours of pornography a day while on the job.

“It’s appalling that it requires an act of Congress to ensure that federal agencies block access to these sites at work,” Meadows said in a statement.

Rep. Mark Meadows (R-NC) questions IRS Commissioner John Koskinen as he testifies before the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee in Washington Monday June 23, 2014. (Reuters/James Lawler Duggan)

On Wednesday, the Washington Post reported that the lax rules currently in place with the EPA with respect to watching porn on the job are arguably quite vague:

“Unauthorized or inappropriate use of Government office equipment may result in the loss or limitation of your privilege to use Government office equipment. You may also face administrative disciplinary action ranging from closer supervision to removal from the Agency, as well as any criminal penalties or financial liability, depending on the severity and nature of the misuse,” the guidelines read.

According to Meadows, more needs to be done to make sure that government employees aren’t wasting resources by watching porn instead of serving America.

“Allowing federal employees to access pornographic materials in the workplace creates an unprofessional and potentially hostile work environment for fellow workers,” Meadows said. “This bill is a common-sense measure that ensure federal workers aren’t viewing pornographic materials on the taxpayers’ dime.”

Although Meadow’s bill — which can be abbreviated as the EPA Act, like the agency that spawned it — has yet to be voted on by his congressional colleagues, Capitol Hill’s top dogs have already spoken up on their own accord after learning about the EPA employee’s six-hour-a-day porn habit and the office’s reluctance to remove the person from the job.

"How much pornography would it take for an EPA employee to lose their job?" House Oversight and Government Reform Chairman Rep Darrell Issa (R-California) said previously when an inspector general’s report shed light on the scandal.

"Fire him. Fire him," demanded Rep. Jason Chaffetz (R-Utah).

On Wednesday this week, however, EPA spokeswoman Liz Purchia confirmed to the Post that “the porn-watching employee,” as the paper referred to the person, is still employed by the agency but on leave.

Further comments, the Post continued, could not be made since the issue remains the subject of an investigation. But according to an interview Meadows gave Fox News back in May, the employee in question may have received a bonus in recent months despite the finding of the IG’s report.

"How many have we fired? Out of all these people, and the answer was zero," Meadows told host Greta van Susteren earlier this year regarding the response he received from investigators who testified before Congress about the report.

Indeed, the issue at hand may extend beyond the EPA: earlier this year a Federal Communications Commission employee was found to have spent up to eight hours a week watching porn, and a separate study showed that a worker at the Treasury viewed over 13,000 X-rated images in a six-week span.