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Andy Spalding: ‘Brazil’s got no use for an anti-anti-corruption minister’

Brazil’s Acting President, Michel TemerBrazil’s historic anti-corruption moment has reached a glorious, if ironic, crescendo.

The new Transparency Minister -- arguably the nation’s chief anti-corruption officer -- has resigned. It came in the wake of revelations that he was counseling a senator on how to avoid prosecution for corruption.

Brazil’s got no use for an anti-anti-corruption minister.

We discussed in a prior post the ambiguous steps that Brazil’s acting president, Michel Temer, has taken during his very short tenure. First came the dissolution of Brazil’s main anti-corruption enforcement agency, the Comptroller General (CGU). He replaced the CGU with a Transparency Ministry; we still aren’t sure whether the new ministry will see its authority reduced. 

Then someone --- we know not who -- leaked a recording of the new Transparency Minister counseling a friend in the Senate on how to avoid prosecution for corruption. That recording was played on national television, and the minister resigned the next day.

Temer also halted certain of the plea negotiations with the construction companies caught up in the Petrobras investigation. As we explained, that might not be as bad as it seems. But it might.

So what is Temer doing? Is he committed to seeing Brazil’s historic anti-corruption moment through? Or are his various maneuverings but covert ways to obstruct what may be the most thorough anti-corruption enforcement effort in history, in any country?

For further discussion of these changing times in Brazil, see our two new videos:

What is Temer doing?

Ministers Resigning

See also our ebook (now being published serially) and related materials at


Andy Spalding is a Senior Editor of the FCPA Blog and Associate Professor at the University of Richmond School of Law. He'll be a moderator and panelist at the FCPA Blog NYC Conference 2016.