Brazilian Congress Snubs Report and Acquits Its Former President

By a vote of 256-209, the Brazilian Chamber floor acquitted the ex-president of the House, João Paulo Cunha (Workers Party, São Paulo state), of having committed a breach of parliamentary decorum. There were 9 abstentions, 7 blank votes, and 2 invalid votes.

The floor decision went contrary to the opinion of the rapporteur of the case, Cézar Schirmer (Party of Brazilian Democratic Movement, Rio Grande do Sul), who recommended that Cunha be deprived of his legislative mandate.

Schirmer’s opinion was approved by the Ethics Council. As a result of the vote in Cunha’s favor, the case will be tabled, and Cunha will continue exercising his mandate, with full political rights.

Cunha was accused of breach of parliamentary decorum. His wife, Márcia Regina, withdrew US$ 23,430 (50,000 reais) from accounts belonging to the advertising executive, Marcos Valério Fernandes de Souza, considered the chief operator of the "mensalão," the so-called vote-buying scheme in which monthly payments were made to legislators in exchange for supporting the Administration.

The former president of the Chamber claims that the withdrawal was made at the behest of the ex-treasurer of the PT, Delúbio Soares. "I was certain that the money came from party coffers," he affirms.

According to Cunha, the money was used to pay for campaign research in four cities in the region of Osasco, São Paulo.

ABr

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