Corruption Yes, Vote Buying No, Say Brazil’s Government Allies

Congressmen who belong to Brazilian political parties allied with the government who are members of the Post Office CPI, the investigative commission (Comissão Parlamentar Mista de Inquérito (CPMI) dos Correios), such as deputy MaurÀ­cio Rands (PT, Pernambuco state), say that there are indications that a corruption scheme linking state-run enterprises and businesses run by Marcos Valério to benefit members of Congress did exist.

However, they say there is no evidence that any money was used to buy votes in favor of the government or to entice congressmen to join political parties allied with the government.

Political party fidelity is not a strong point in Brazilian politics. It is not uncommon for 20% of the members of Congress to be elected as members of one political party and then move to another party during a legislative session; many Brazilian politicians have been members of various different political parties.

Rand says that "In a general sense we believe that payments were made by Marcos Valério to members of political parties allied with the government."

The payment scheme has become known as the "big monthly allowance" ("mensalão"). However, Rand goes on to say that it is still too early to link the payments to votes in Congress or changes in party membership.

"That does not make this promiscuous relationship any less serious. Party leaderships should deal with this problem rigorously," he said.

Meanwhile, PT congresswoman, senator Ideli Salvati, declared that she agrees with Rand. "Money changed hands and the hands belonged to members of Congress. That is one thing. But there is no proof of vote buying or using financial incentives to get congressmen to change parties."

Salvati pointed that Marcos Valério’s operations had been in activity since 1997, and in the 1998 election for the governor of Minas Gerais the Valério scheme worked with a PSDB candidate, Eduardo Azeredo. The PSDB is presently an opposition party.

Agência Brasil

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