Congressman Paulo Pimenta of the Workers’ Party filed a lawsuit against former judge Sergio Moro and his former party, Podemos, for alleged misuse of public funds. The move comes after The Brazilian Report revealed that Mr. Moro traveled to São Paulo in order to negotiate the terms of his transition to the right-wing União Brasil on his old party’s dime.
Parties in Brazil are financed with public money, and Mr. Pimenta’s lawsuit claims that Podemos’ use of funds to pay for Mr. Moro’s personal expenses was unlawful. The party claims to have spent around BRL 5 million (USD 1 million) on his presidential campaign, spread between events, dinners, security, and travel expenses – not to mention a monthly salary for the former judge and his wife.
The plaintiffs believe that Podemos should be able to collaborate with the authorities so as to exempt itself from the obligation to reimburse the party fund. That responsibility would then presumably fall to Mr. Moro.
The reason for Mr. Moro’s move was the lack of support he felt he was receiving from the party, and so orchestrated a move to União Brasil. As soon as the move was made official, União Brasil publicly stated that it had no intention of launching the former judge’s candidacy for president.
Mr. Moro, meanwhile, says he hasn’t given up on his aspirations and has met with other presidential hopefuls from the mainstream right, in the hopes of forging an alliance to counter the Jair Bolsonaro-Lula dichotomy.