Congress to feds: It’s not OK to view porn at work

Yet another member of Congress is pressing the House Appropriations Committee to get tough on federal employees who watch pornography at work.

If it weren’t for a few infamous former Environmental Protection Agency employees, this might be a solution in search of a problem. But Rep. Walter Jones (R-N.C.) said one example is already too many.

In a letter to committee chairman Harold Rogers (R-Ky.) and ranking member Nita Lowey (D-N.Y.), Jones said language in the fiscal 2016 omnibus spending bill meant to keep feds from watching porn at work doesn’t apply to all agencies.

Jones said the porn-proscribing clause in the omnibus bill was left out of a part that outlines funding for a division of agencies that includes the departments of Defense, State and Interior.

Advertisement

“We applaud you for including this funding restriction for many parts of the government. However, we are deeply troubled that it was not included for all the federal government,” Jones wrote in his March 17 letter. “In particular, it was not included for several agencies, including the EPA, the SEC, and the Department of the Interior, which have been the subject of high profile media stories about their employees surfing porn at work.”

Jones told the  committee he’d like to see future appropriations bills include more strict language about pornography.

The current omnibus bill states that:

“None of the funds made available in this Act may be used to maintain or establish a computer network unless such network blocks the viewing, downloading, and exchanging of pornography.”

Rep. Mark Meadows (R-N.C.) in 2015 introduced a bill that would try to stop federal employees from accessing, watching, or sharing pornography on government- issued computers and devices.

Both Jones and Meadows cited examples from inspector general reports on the Environmental Protection Agency, which found multiple cases of EPA employees watching porn at work, for a long as 6 hours a day.

In 2010, an Interior Department official with the Office of Inspector General said employees had been fired for viewing pornography at work.

Copyright © 2020 Federal News Network. All rights reserved. This website is not intended for users located within the European Economic Area.