Federal Police wants to investigate shady budgetary grant scandal

federal police
Photo: BW Press/Shutterstock

Brazil’s Federal Police has requested Supreme Court approval to investigate whether politicians embezzled public funds allocated by way of budgetary grants. Part of what has been called the government’s “secret budget,” these grants are dished out to lawmakers and typically used to pay for infrastructure projects in their constituency.

In October, Federal Comptroller General Wagner Rosário said that his office was investigating allegations of a parallel market of budgetary grants, including one case involving an irregular purchase of tractors.

The funds in question are obtained by a mechanism known as “rapporteur-designated budgetary grants,” by which the lawmaker put in charge of overseeing the federal budget has the power to request funds for individual politicians. Unlike regular budgetary grants, however, the names of officials receiving these funds are never disclosed, creating something of a bottomless barrel of pork for members of Congress.

Earlier this month, the Supreme Court ruled in favor of suspending rapporteur-designated grants until the end of 2021, demanding that all remaining budgetary allocations for this year be fully disclosed to the public, including the names of all recipients.