PF asks the STF to investigate amendments to the ‘Secret Budget’

Payment of resources was suspended by Minister Rosa Weber, in a decision endorsed by the plenary of the Court; opposition says practice has been used to buy votes in parliament

Fabio Rodrigues Pozzebom/Agência BrasilIn the decision, Minister Rosa Weber wrote that ‘Secret Budget’ is an ‘operational regime without transparency and with reduced institutional oversight capacity’

The Federal Police (Federal Police) requested authorization from the Federal Supreme Court (STF) to investigate alleged irregularities in the execution and transfer of the rapporteur’s amendments, known as “secret budget“. Unlike individual amendments by deputies and senators, they do not follow the usual criteria of transparency and are defined based on informal agreements between the Palácio do Planalto and allied parliamentarians. At the beginning of October, in a hearing at the Chamber of Deputies, the Minister of the Comptroller General of the Union (CGU), Wagner Rosary, had already stated that the organ and the PF were investigating an alleged scheme of “amendment sales”. “On splice sales, we are investigating several cases. Of course, they are all confidential because we already do this work through agreements, in general”, he said at the time.

Wanted by Young pan to comment on the information, the Federal Police said, on the afternoon of Friday, 19, that “it does not comment on any ongoing investigations”. The transfer of the rapporteur’s amendments was suspended by Minister Rosa Weber, in a decision endorsed by the plenary of the Court by 8 votes to 2 . In the preliminary injunction, granted on the last 5th, the magistrate stated that “there is a duplicity of regimes for the execution of parliamentary amendments”. “That’s because, while individual and bench amendments link the author of the amendment to the beneficiary of the expenses, making the origin and destination of the money spent clear and verifiable, the rapporteur’s amendments operate based on the concealment of congressmen requesting the expense through the stratagem of the RP 9 item, which allocates all the expenses foreseen therein, indiscriminately, to the staff of the general budget rapporteur, who acts as an intermediary between a group of incognito parliamentarians and the federal public budget. For this reason, the rapporteur’s amendments, as reported in the journalistic articles produced in the records, were called ‘secret budget’, ‘parallel budget’ or ‘rapporteur’s superpowers’, considered to be subject to an operational regime without transparency and reduced capacity institutional and popular inspection”, he justified. Rosa Weber also determined that “broad transparency” about the transfers already made.

The “secret budget” scheme was revealed in May by the newspaper The State of São Paulo. According to an article published at the time, lawmakers indicated public works and purchase of equipment in their electoral bases. The funds were used to purchase tractors and other agricultural equipment, in addition to works considered irregular by the Federal Court of Accounts (TCU). The “secret budget” is used by the Planalto Palace to gather the support base in important votes in Congress. The opposition denounces the practice and claims that the device has used this device to buy votes. In October, according to data from the Siga Brasil portal, the government broke the year’s record in the effort to amend the General Rapporteur for the Budget, with more than R$1.9 billion. The NGO Portas Abertas, which also researches the Brazilian public budget, points out that R$ 909 million were invested on October 28 and 29, on the eve of the vote in the first round of the PEC dos Precatórios.