How Brazil’s Congress uses investigation committees as political tools

Parliamentary Investigation Committees rarely produce results, but can be used to boost or destroy the image of public figures

brazil congress cpi
Photo: Fabio Pozzebom/ABr

News that Alessandro Vieira, a first-time Senator from the southern state of Rio Grande do Sul, managed to gather the necessary signatures to launch a so-called Parliamentary Committee of Investigation into the activities of the Brazilian justice system, sent shockwaves through Brasilia. The threat of investigation exasperated an already existent rift between the Legislature and Judiciary—two of the country’s three branches of power.

Panic set in, with Supreme Court Justices lobbying senators in an attempt to convince them to withdraw their support and avoid the dreaded investigation. It turned out to be successful, with Senators Kátia Abreu and...

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