MPs' expenses: UK Parliament accused of cover-up

Anti-secrecy campaigners have criticized a decision by UK lawmakers to censor a report on their expenses claims, some of which was leaked earlier amid huge public outcry.

The online publication on Thursday is the result of a newspaper filing a freedom of information request to see the claims by MPs, but some of the information is blacked out.

The redaction prompted criticism from campaigners seeking transparancy. "A great deal of information has been censored so today's move will do nothing to restore public trust -- it looks like a cover-up," Katherine Gundersen of the Campaign for Freedom of Information, told CNN.

"Far from drawing a line under the episode this will fuel further public anger."

Thursday's official release was also anti-climatic because the Daily Telegraph has been printing the expenses claims over the past month after obtaining a leaked copy.

The series of reports by the Telegraph created a scandal by revealing that many lawmakers had claimed excessively or bent the rules. The reports forced the government to release the claims Thursday instead of in July, as originally planned.

Controversial claims detailed by the newspaper included thousands of dollars' worth of interest on a mortgage that had already been paid, money spent to clean a moat on a country estate, and more than $1,000 spent on a small house for ducks.

Some lawmakers claimed the maximum monthly allowance for food; one claimed for dog food; one claimed for Christmas decorations; and another claimed nearly $5,000 for an in-home theater system.

UK lawmakers slammed over expenses secrecy (CNN News, 18 June 2009)

MPs' expenses: critics attack censorship as redactions black out documents
(The Guardian, 19 June 2009)