Posted by BrazilMax:High farce in Brazil’s Senate
Brazilian senators are expected to decide this week whether to follow the advice of their ethics committee and ditch an inquiry into alleged misdeeds by the Senate president, Renan Calheiros of the catch-all PMDB. If they do, it will be the most brazen display of collective brass neck to which Brazilians, already used to such displays, have yet been subjected.
Mr Calheiros has admitted that an employee of a construction company for two years made generous monthly payments to a former journalist with whom he had an extra-marital affair (and a daughter, now aged three). He says the money was his and he has therefore done nothing wrong. But questions were raised over how he could afford this on his salary of R$12,000 ($6,282) a month - less than the monthly payments at their peak. He pointed to income from three cattle farms and presented documents to prove it. But a report on TV Globo's Jornal Nacional cast serious doubt on the documents and interviewed alleged buyers of the senator's cattle who claimed never to have done business with him.
"I would put my hand in the fire for Renan Calheiros," said fellow PMDB senator Pedro Simon. "Well, not put my hand in the fire. But I trust him." Other displays of support have been less convincing. Mr Calheiros should just go. Unfortunately, the way things are in Brasília, there is really no reason why he would.