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Brazil | No Paraguayan Coup for You

«TSE technicians want to reject Dilma's accounts»

«TSE technicians want to reject Dilma’s accounts»

To give you an idea of the coordinated campaign regarding the campaign accounts of the PT, in the first 40 post-election days in 2010, the Folha de São Paulo ran a single story on the issue. Public works contractors made open donations to various campaigns, among them the Dilma campaign, which earned it a modest article.

In  2014, for some reason not entirely understood, Gilmar Mendes, responsible for reviewing the accounts of the PT and Dilma campaign, requisitioned technicians from TSE, the tax authority, the federal accounting tribunal (TCU)  — in short, a small army of experts to undertake what he termed an extremely thorough investigation of the electoral accounts of the president.

As was to be expected, more and more articles began to appear casting doubts on the accounting of the Dilma campaign and the PT.  This week alone, the Folha ran three front-page headlines on the topic. One of these was the top headline.

This was a brief history by Edu Guimaraẽs on “the failure of the Paraguayan coup.” Despite harsh posturing by the Brazilian Antonin Scalia, Gilmar Mendes, the accounts were approved unanimously, with the usual sort of caveat.

Topic: TSE Approves Dilma Accounts and Mendes Attacks Nassif

Source: GGN | Luis Nassif

The back story: Brazilian economic journalist and alt.media activist Luis Nassif — who also distinguishes himself as a mandolin player in the choro style — had warned in recent columns that creating conditions for a “Paraguayan Coup” was underway in the smoky back rooms of the federal election authority (TSE).

In the procedure used to vet the campaign spending of the various candidates and parties, cases are usually handed out by drawing lots, but in this case the PT and the Dilma campaign — a mathematical improbability — both had their accounts assigned to a figure notoriously contemptuous of the ruling PT, Minister Gilmar Mendes, who summoned an army of government auditors to find some wrongdoing in the books — a degree of scrutiny not required of other parties.

The plan, according to Nassif, was to refuse to ratify the accounts of the PT and its campaign in time to throw a wrench into the inauguration of Dilma’s second term.

She would in this case not be prevented from receiving the sash, but the stage would be set for a torrent of corruption scandals that would weaken her ability to govern and pass legislation.
Nassif:

Jornal GGN – The Superior Elections Tribunal has unanimously approved the campaign accounts of Dilma Rousseff, with caveats. After deputy attorney general Eugênio Aragão and the defense surpassed the theories of the ASEPA experts (Examination of Electoral and Partisan Accounts), Gilmar Mendes argued that the irregularities committed were severe in nature, criticized the electoral prosecutor, insulted Luis Nassif, and defended  the technicians.

Even so, he voted to approve the accounts.

Before the analysis and judgment of the accounts, there was a debate over an appeal from Aragão against the redistribution of the case to Gilmar Mendes.

The minister’s record of crude, fiery rhetoric addressed at the PT and its petralhas would, you would think, call for a recusal, but Mendes always insists on a right of free expression that trumps judicial impartiality when it suits him. Brazilian judges have these idiosyncrasies.

At this point, TSE presiding minister Dias Toffoli, together with Gilmar, implicitly denounced critics would claimed the distribution of the cases had been directed. Toffoli also harshly criticized the absence of a minister from the session, given that the president had not yet nominated his substitute on the Court.

“This much is true, that those who benefited from this were the «dirty blogs» who caused much more trouble than their size would indicate. There is the case in which he was fired by the Folha de S. Paulo, and he created a column titled  dinheiro vivo (“cash). He went so far as to create this Paraguayan impeachment. A blog financed by public funds — yours, mine, everyone’s! This story should be told in order to embarrass the man. A blog created to attack adversaries and political enemies. It deserves to be prosecuted for  dishonesty, not treated with solidarity by the Public Ministry,” Gilmar said, in heated tones.

The reference to this blogger came after Mendes addressed a criticism at Aragão and his proposal to apply for an order that the redistribution of the cases to Mendes should be reviewed. “Like you, your honor, I have seldom seen such [confusion?] regarding a procedural matter. I have certainly never seen such an extravagant reading of internal procedures. Any illiterate in the law knows there will be a judgment. We ought to have an impeachment trial for stupidity,” Gilmar told Aragão.

Calmly, the deputy prosecutor said simply, “the Prosecutors Office (Ministerio Publico) will provide a very brief explanation of the case. It will not address the issue of a special appeal based on internal procedures, because it was abandoned and therefore cannot support a finding against the appeal.”

After nearly two hours of explanation, the rapporteur (Mendes) cast his vote, approval the campaign finances with caveats. As he did at the outset of his speech, Mendes pointed to the repercussion in the media of the investigations in Operation Car Wash.

“In conclusion, I cast my vote for approval, with caveats, taking into consideration the percentage of irregularitiees. This does not place a seal of approval on possible illegalities committed by or linked to the campaign. I ask that you make it very clear, within the constitutional limits of this Court, that irregularities were found that should be investigated,” he concluded.

Gilmar iniciou o seu voto, por volta das 20 horas da noite desta quarta-feira (10), enfatizando que a equipe técnica, por conta de sua estrutura, prazo curto e pequena quantidade de funcionários, não seria capaz de comprovar ilícitos, se eles existissem. “Algumas das possíveis fraudes dificilmente poderão ser identificadas, pelo requinte [das operações]”, disse. “Podem surgir falsidade ideológica, estelionato contra a campanha, lavagem de dinheiro e sonegação fiscal. Não estamos falando que houve, mas há o indicativo de irregularidades”.

Para argumentar, o ministro repassou as informações do pedido de impugnação solicitado pelo PSDB: o gasto que ultrapassou o limite, ainda que o PT tenha solicitado posteriormente para aumentar esse teto – “a Justica Eleitoral não pode transformar esse limite como mera modificacao formal”, disse Gilmar, criticando a manifestação do PGR; os erros para o uso do site Muda Mais; e os gastos com o uso do transporte oficial da aeronave para as campanhas.

Além disso, ressaltou, em diversos momentos, o trabalho “valoroso” da equipe de técnicos do Tribunal Superior Eleitoral, e retomou os argumentos utilizados pela Asepa, que sugeria a desaprovação das contas de Dilma. Entre os pontos levantados no relatório estavam a utilização de gastos antes da primeira prestação de contas, mas com declaração ao final; a não prestação de contas pela presidente de doações dos diretórios regionais do PT e de parte de despesas; a falta de documentação fiscal necessária para parte das doações; divergências entre transferências diretas e o que foi declarado; e problemas referentes à prestação de contas com o transporte aéreo, como ausência de documentação.

Para Gilmar Mendes, o principal problema nas contas da candidata reeleita do PT foi a divergência entre as declarações feitas nas prestações parciais e final. “As contas prestadas parcialmente não refletem o que foi gasto naquele momento”, disse o ministro, que caracterizou essa infração como grave.

A crítica ao vice-procurador-geral da República se manteve durante todo o voto de Gilmar Mendes. Criticou outros posicionamentos do representante do MPE, informando que o mesmo não seguiu os “princípios da proporcionalidade”.

Gilmar ainda concluiu: “[É preciso] sair dessa baixeza, dessa teorias conspiratórias, dessa gente atrasada, precisam olhar adiante. O Brasil não começou agora e nem termina agora. É preciso ter uma perspectiva histórica. E eu li horas e horas [os autos do processo], nem vou falar do meu trabalho, mas me reuni aos domingos com os técnicos, horas e horas, para entender tudo. Essa gentalha que vive alimentando esse mundo de intrigas, usando de poder institucional para atacar essas pessoas”.

In the end, he approved the accounts, with caveats. His vote was followed by the rest of the Court.