On Tuesday, Brazil’s Lower House approved an amnesty bill for political parties who do not publish or present their financial accounts. Congress labeled the bill as urgent, and could vote to pass it into law as early as Wednesday.
The legislation would prohibit the Superior Electoral Court (TSE) from punishing parties who do not present their financial accounts for legal approval. Essentially, the bill provides amnesty for a full range of shady political dealings. Furthermore, the text revokes the Law of Political Parties. Such a move would take away the court’s right to emit instructions about the details of the law.
The bill, Project Law 4.424, addresses political parties claims of the Electoral Justice’s interference in internal affairs. Maurício Quintana Lessa (PR) first presented the bill in the Lower House in 2016 before becoming Transporation Minister. Lessa wrote, “the Electoral Justice promoted diverse alterations in the functioning of political identities, which interfere in a direct manner in the constitutional autonomy of political parties.”
The Lower House approved the bill with a resounding majority of 314 for and 17 against. The only political party to vote against the bill was the socialist party PSOL. Congressman Chico Alencar (PSOL-RS) explained his vote against the bill which would allow corrupt parties to walk free. Indeed, the country’s major corruption investigation, Operation Car Wash, cracks down on bribe schemes between Petrobas, politicians, and political parties.
Attempts at amnesty
This isn’t the first time Brazil’s Congress has attempted to pass legislation to cover their own backs. Last year, the Lower House tried to approve an amnesty law for congressman targeted by Operation Car Wash. In fact, congressmen tried to insert the amnesty legislation inside a package of anti-corruption measures. However, faced with public outcry, lawmakers shelved the bill for a later date. Both bills involved House President Rodrigo Maia, a close ally of President Temer’s.