Brazil’s Anti-Corruption Showdown


With impeachment little less than imminent, the question is whether a new government will strengthen or weaken the legislative tool-box of corruption-blasting policies I wrote about yesterday. Given the PMDB’s involvement in corruption allegations and its amorphous policy principles and democratic history, it is not surprising to read that PMDB leaders in Congress are supporting legislative measures to weaken key plea bargaining arrangements.

Let’s get this straight – if the Public Prosecutor and Federal Police lose the power to offer penalty-reductions in exchange for information that leads to the apprehension of wrongdoing (plea bargaining agreements), the current corruption purge will end.

Enter the Public Prosecutor’s office and its 10 Measures Against Corruption campaign, which I outlined in my last post. The Public Prosecutor’s Office deposited over 2 million signatures in Congress yesterday (see header pic) – enough to guarantee that this ‘popular initiative’ will receive constitutionally-mandated legislative priority. The initiative was supported by 1016 entities, including NGOs, churches, and universities. Power to the people!

This is nothing less than exceptional bureaucratic activism on a scale never before witnessed in Brazil. The Public Prosecutor has struck genius in unleashing a splashy anti-corruption legislative agenda at a moment when major players are beginning to line up against the legislative causes of the Car Wash investigation.

The important thing now is to raise awareness regarding the sacrosanctity of the Anti-Corruption Law (12.846) and the Law on Criminal Organizations (12.850), both of which provide the criminal justice system with expansive plea bargaining provisions to unearth further graft.

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