Brazil’s top electoral court, known as the TSE [official website], dismissed a case on Friday against President Michel Temer for alleged illegal campaign funding in the 2014 election when he was the running mate of impeached president Dilma Rousseff. The TSE voted 4-3 [Reuters report] to acquit both Temer and Rousseff, which avoided the annulment of their election and the removal of Temer from office. Though the acquittal gives Temer some breathing room, a separate investigation by prosecutors is underway into Temer, which includes a secret recording of a conversation he had earlier this year with a former top executive of meatpacker JBS SA allegedly condoning paying bribes to an imprisoned former lawmaker to prevent potentially devastating testimony. Temer has denied any wrongdoing and has stated that he will never resign.
Brazil has endured tumultuous times as former president Dilma Rousseff was impeached for corruption [JURIST op-ed] last year amidst a time of economic turmoil. In April Brazil’s Supreme Court ordered investigations into eight cabinet ministers [JURIST report] and dozens of lawmakers who are allegedly linked to the country’s so-called “car wash” bribery scheme. The investigation was ordered on the tails of an anti-corruption measure that was passed last December by the Brazilian Lower Chamber of Deputies. “Operation Carwash” [JURIST report] allows individuals who are subject to prosecution to seek criminal consequences against their prosecutors and judges if the officials abuse their powers. “Operation Carwash” was passed as charges have been filed against some of Brazil’s most powerful politicians, including former president Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva [JURIST report]. In late September former finance minister Antonio Palocci was arrested [JURIST report].