Nobody is immune to smut’s pull. Well, not exactly nobody, but it can happen to anyone. Even big money people at the SEC can get caught with their… er… pants down. Alert the media.

SEC’s inspector general found that the SEC staffers violated government-wide ethics rules.

Why the AP is framing the story that the “GOP ramps up attacks on SEC” because of this disclosure, simply because Rep. Issa says what any intelligent person would say, seems to be framing the issue as the GOP v. the SEC, which comes amidst fraud charges against Goldman Sachs laid down by SEC head Mary Shapiro.

During the election season of 2008 it seems that the habit skyrocketed, which also happened to coincide with the worst financial disaster since the Great Depression.

Moral of the story? Stressed out individuals seek release, with some individuals having very poor impulse control and judgment on when and where it’s appropriate to imbibe. This includes high-ranking officials making big bucks. It’s nothing new, even if it is infuriating.

From the AP:

It summarizes past inspector general probes and reports some shocking findings:

– 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.

– 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.