Brazil's Supreme Court Suspends Slush Fund for Congresspersons

Court forms a majority to uphold Rosa Weber's decision to remove a bargaining chip with Congress from the Planalto


The Federal Supreme Court ruled in a majority to maintain Justice Rosa Weber's decision to veto payments that government officials use with the support of the Bolsonaro administration to attract deputies and senators in key votes.

The government thus loses its main currency of exchange, which will make it more difficult to advance its agenda on the eve of the electoral campaign and could open a new crisis between the branches of the government.

This year, R$16.8 billion were available to distribute to congresspersons. Before the approval of the PEC dos Precatórios, R$ 1 billion was paid out to congresspersons.

Their execution was to be suspended "in full and immediately" although the trial continued.

In addition, Congress must publicize widely all documents relating to the distribution of these funds in 2020 and 2021.

As of Tuesday night, five of the nine justices who had voted had followed Rosa's decision; Gilmar Mendes objected.

The Planalto faces difficulties in approving matters it considers important, especially on issues that involve changing the Constitution, which requires 308 votes in the Chamber.

President Jair Bolsonaro criticized the justice's decision, which pointed to a distortion of the mechanism. He said that the arguments used are not fair and denied that there was a bargain in releasing these amendments.

Translated by Kiratiana Freelon

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