Last night the Brazil’s Chamber of Deputies rejected the expulsion of deputy Romeu Queiroz from the PTB party of Minas Gerais state for supposed involvement in a congressional payment scheme known in the press as "mensalão" or "big monthly allowance."
The vote on the expulsion of Queiroz, which was recommended by the Ethics Council, was the first of a deputy who received money from Marcos Valério, who was supposedly the moneyman in the payment scheme.
Queiroz reportedly received US$ 198,000 (450,000 reais). With 443 deputies casting ballots in a secret vote, Queiroz got 250 votes against his expulsion and 193 in favor of expulsion. 257 votes were necessary to expel him.
Deputy Júlio Delgado, from Minas Gerais’s PSB party. declared that other deputies accused of participation in the Marcos Valério payment scheme will seek to use the Queiroz vote as a precedent, allowing them to get off the hook.
Meanwhile, deputy Chico Alencar from the Rio de Janeiro P-SOL said that the vote showed there was no political will to punish anyone else. Only deputies Roberto Jefferson (the whistleblower) and José Dirceu (the former Lula chief of staff who made lots of enemies in Congress) have been expelled.
"With this vote the Congress is more distant than ever from recovering the respect of Brazilian society," he said.