Of every BRL 10 received by parties from public money in 2015, BRL 1 was spent in a questionable way. This was the understanding of the Superior Electoral Court (TSE) when judging the rendering of accounts of the acronyms. Among the expenses that the Electoral Justice recognized as irregular are purchases of luxury items, parties, renovation of directors’ properties, unjustified trips, double payments and fees for lawyers of Lava Jato defendants, in addition to indications of misrepresentation.
Although the expenses are from almost seven years ago, this is the most recent period analyzed by the Electoral Justice. The entire movement of the Party Fund since then is still subject to appreciation by the TSE. The court prioritizes the evaluation of electoral expenditures, mainly of the winners, but the expenses of the losers and the parties do not follow the same rhythm, not least because the deadlines are shorter.
Of the BRL 811 million available to parties in 2015, BRL 76.8 million were considered irregular by the TSE. That year, no acronym passed the sieve unscathed. 20 subtitles had the accounts disapproved. Another 13 were approved with reservations.
Information on the Party Fund was gathered by the Brake on the Reformation initiative, made up of civil society organizations, in view of the discussion in Congress of projects that modify the systems of accountability. The proposals are pending in the Senate – including the one that ends the five-year period for the presentation of documents referring to the expenses of the Party Fund.
QUESTIONING While some parties had irregularities in less than 1% of the funds received, others had half of the money applied in a questionable way, according to the TSE. After the presentation of the accounts, there is an analysis by the technical area of the Electoral Justice and the subtitles are urged to present justifications. Only then will the benefits go to trial.
When the irregularity is confirmed, there is an obligation to return the resources, which are deposited in the fund itself. As for the accountability of those involved, the legislation provides that it will only occur if it is willful (intentional), that means illicit enrichment and that represents damage to the party’s assets. In addition to the difficulty of fulfilling all these criteria, it still demands the proposition of action by the Electoral Public Ministry. And, many times, the time elapsed between the discovery of the illegality and the conclusion of the process is so great that the case prescribes.
AIRCRAFT. The list of legends that spent the most amounts from the Party Fund irregularly is headed by PROS, with R$ 10.7 million considered as irregular spending. Of the total, the investment of R$ 3.1 million that the party made in the purchase of aircraft stands out. According to the Electoral Justice, 60% of the displacements occurred between the cities of Formosa and Goiânia, both in Goiás. In addition to Formosa being part of the electoral stronghold of the then president of the party, Eurípedes Júnior, the two municipalities are only 280 kilometers apart. Expenses with maintenance and fuel exceeded R$ 140 thousand.
as showed the Estadão, the purchase of an R66-Turbine helicopter was the reason for the removal of Euripides from the presidency of the acronym in 2020. On the occasion, the purchase of an airplane was also revealed. The TSE identified a third aircraft in the PROS accounts, an Embraer EMB810D Seneca III aircraft. The TSE stated that it is necessary to curb “recurring practices regarding the performance of party leaders who act as ‘owners’ of the associations, in perfect confusion between their interests and partisan purposes.” When contacted, the party did not respond to the report.
PT also had the accounts disapproved for not satisfactorily proving the use of R$ 8.3 million. The amount includes the expense of almost R$500,000 to hire lawyers for Lava Jato defendants, including former party treasurer Paulo Ferreira. The Court identified that the legal services were not linked to party activity. “It constitutes a serious irregularity, insofar as public resources are being used in support of individual and very personal causes, of evident affront to the principles of public administration.” In a note, the PT stated that, in October, it appealed to the Federal Supreme Court against the TSE ruling.
The misuse of R$ 7 million from the Party Fund put Patriota on the podium of the acronyms that had the highest amounts questioned. A farm in the municipality of Barrinha (SP) “won” R$ 50,000 in improvements, such as TV, minibar, air conditioning and security camera. Public money was also used for grocery shopping and hiring a person to clean the place. The farm belonged to the then president of the party, Adilson Barroso.
In court, the party claimed that the farm fulfilled the role of the acronym’s administrative headquarters, even though it was located 343 kilometers from the capital. The TSE states that the legend did not prove such a link. When contacted, Barroso did not respond.
WITHOUT CONTROL. “There is a rage over the use of public money without control”, said the director of the Transparência Partidária movement, Marcelo Issa. A member of Freio na Reforma, he defended the need for greater control. “The exponential increase in public resources was not accompanied by investments in human and technological resources to carry out this inspection.”
For the coordinator of Electoral Transparency Brazil, Ana Claudia Santano, disapproval of the accounts does not mean illegality. “If the Electoral Court cannot see where the money went, there may be a formal irregularity, which needs to be confirmed if it is also material.”
The TSE did not comment on the control measures that are adopted. All other parties that had the accounts disapproved were sought after. The PTB reported that “invoices, checks and extracts were duly presented”. The PL said that irregularities in the payment of notary expenses were detected by the association itself, which “immediately requested an investigation”.
Podemos stated that the responsibility for previous administrations cannot be attributed to the current party. The PDT, in a note, said that it never acted in “bad faith” in rendering its accounts. The other acronyms did not respond.
The information is from the newspaper. The State of São Paulo.
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