Skip to comments.Brazilian ex-minister being impeached
Posted on 08/10/2005 8:24:06 PM PDT by NormsRevenge
BRASILIA, Brazil - Impeachment proceedings began Wednesday against a federal legislator a former top Cabinet official in connection with a bribery scandal that has rocked President Luiz Inacio da Silva's Workers' Party, which prided itself on its ethical behavior.
Rep. Jose Dirceu, who stepped down as Silva's chief of staff and returned to his seat in Congress in June, stands accused of overseeing an alleged scheme where the government paid lawmakers for their support on key votes.
Dirceu again proclaimed his innocence Wednesday, saying "I'm going to defend myself, because I committed no crime."
Dirceu has a week to present Congress with a written defense and name four witness to testify in his favor.
Rep. Sandro Mabel of the allied Liberal Party and Rep. Romeu Queiroz of the Brazilian Labor Party are also facing impeachment in connection with the scandal.
In all, 18 lawmakers could eventually face impeachment over the scandal that has paralyzed Congress since June and will likely continue to tie it up for months to come.
The scandal broke when Rep. Roberto Jefferson a former ally of President Silva said the government paid lawmakers monthly bribes of $13,000 to support Workers Party bills in Congress.
The scandal has smeared the image of Silva's Workers' Party, which formed with a commitment to high ethical standards during Brazil's 1964-1985 military dictatorship. The party's president, treasurer and secretary general have all stepped down since the scandal broke.
Silva, however, has so far managed to maintain some distance from the scandal, with his approval ratings remaining higher than that of his government in recent polls.
Even Hugo and Fidel can not stop the Gubamintal train wreck that is happening there.