RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL – The Constitution, Justice, and Citizenship Committee (CCJ) of the Senate approved on Wednesday, July 10th, by 17 votes to 2, the bill that defines the crime of electoral slush fund.

Senators at the Constitution, Justice and Citizenship Committee (CCJ) session on Wednesday, July 10th.
Senators at the Constitution, Justice and Citizenship Committee (CCJ) session on Wednesday, July 10th. (Photo internet reproduction/G1)

An electoral slush fund consists of unreported campaign financing. Currently, there is no legislation defining this as a crime. When a politician commits such an act, it is classified under an article in the Electoral Code on misrepresentation, with a penalty of up to five years of imprisonment.

The rapporteur Marcio Bittar maintained the penalty suggested by Moro in the text: imprisonment from two to five years. The penalty of imprisonment is applied to more serious violations, but less harsh penalties (work release, house arrest) can be applied. If detention is required, it can be in a maximum or medium security prison.

Under the bill, the crime will be classified as “collecting, receiving, maintaining, moving or using funds, amounts, goods or services that can be invoiced, unrecorded or falsely recorded in the accounts as required by the electoral legislation.”

If the source of the money is illegal, originating from criminal activity, the penalties may be increased by one to two thirds. Whoever provides or donates to slush funds may also be punished.

Each of these points is identical to those passed on Wednesday, June 26th, by the Senate, within the bill punishing the misuse of authority committed by judges and prosecutors. The members of the CCJ decided to equate the two texts so that there is no legal difference as to punishment.

The bill approved this Wednesday, July 10th, provides that, should the offender be a public official, the penalty will be increased by one to two-thirds.

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