Power

Opposition lawmakers side with Bolsonaro to keep grant money a secret

Congress approved a half-hearted resolution, failing in its promise to provide transparency to secret budgetary grants allocated to lawmakers. Members of the opposition have benefited from these grants, and they broke ranks to vote with the Bolsonaro government

grant Senator Rogério Carvalho (left) voted with Jair Bolsonaro "in the name of Senate autonomy." Photo: Waldemir Barreto/SF/CC-BY 4.0
Senator Rogério Carvalho (left) voted with Jair Bolsonaro “in the name of Senate autonomy.” Photo: Waldemir Barreto/SF/CC-BY 4.0

This Monday, Brazil’s Congress passed a resolution aimed at giving “more transparency” to an opaque form of budgetary grants dished out to federal lawmakers. The so-called rapporteur-designated grants consist of portions of the budget allocated to specific politicians, on request, for projects in their constituencies. As the identity of the grants’ recipients is not disclosed to the public, the mechanism works as an effective pork-barreling tool for the heads of Congress to whip up support for legislation they hope to approve. 

Crucially, the new resolution does not foresee the disclosure of the names of lawmakers who received these grants...

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