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Wednesday, May 13, 2009

American reporter causes stir in British Parliament

In 2001, Heather Brooke, a 38-year-old reporter from Pennsylvania, requested details on British lawmakers' expenses, but her request was met with derision, the AP reported. She submitted her request again in 2005 with no success. Even three years later when Britain's information ombudsman ordered that lawmakers' receipts be released, the parliament speaker tried to stop publication of the data. Britain's High Court rejected the appeal and ordered the release. Although the data won't be released until July, the Telegraph obtained the information early and printed details of lawmakers charging horse manure, porn movies, housekeepers and tennis court repairs to their expense accounts.
It took a sassy American to force stuffy British lawmakers to come clean over their expenses.

Heather Brooke, a 38-year-old Pennsylvania-born reporter, has become the scourge of parliament, forcing the publication of legislators' expenses claims following a five-year legal battle that has exposed Britain's deep-rooted culture of official secrecy.

The expense bills reveal how lawmakers frittered away public money with claims for porn movies, chandeliers and housekeepers or repaired their tennis court, swimming pool or helicopter pad.

More here.

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