Six years after the start of Operation Car Wash, the anti-corruption task force is zeroing in on historic figures of the Brazilian Social Democracy Party (PSDB). In recent weeks, Senator José Serra and Geraldo Alckmin — both former presidential candidates — have faced multiple corruption allegations. Federal prosecutors indicted Mr. Serra for money laundering — accusing him and his daughter of moving millions of embezzled money to hidden offshore accounts. Days later, Mr. Alckmin was accused of receiving at least BRL 10 million from the Odebrecht construction group.
While Messrs. Serra and Alckmin don’t enjoy nearly the same level of political influence and prestige they once did, they have a rich political history, combining for almost two decades at the helm of the state government of São Paulo — Brazil’s wealthiest state — and four presidential bids, with three runner-up finishes. They represent a time when the PSDB still bore a relation with the social democratic values it carries in its name, when it stood for something beyond power-grabbing and rent-seeking, for which it has now become known.