Brazil: Crisis Communication Confab on Baldy Borking!

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Obsessive-compulsive disorder: “I will vote for Maluf. I will vote for Maluf.” Angelí is the Folha de S. Paulo’s editorial cartoonist, and inventor of the woman I married, Rê Bordosa.

Agora MS (Mato Grosso do Sul) pickes up the wire story from the Folha Online: As they continue to scream that the sex Senator should be removed from office for conduct unbecoming — as perhaps he should, as far as I know — the “Toucans” of the PSDB are reportedly holding a meeting of the minds to try to avoid the same fate for their former national president, Senator Eduardo “For a Decent Brazil” Azeredo of Minas Gerais.

After a series of reports that the PSDB was not supporting him, Azeredo made statements to the press to the effect that the 1998 presidential campaign of Fernando Henrique Cardoso had  benefitted from the same caixa dois — illegal undeclared private campaign contributions, and possibly money embezzled from state-owned firms, laundered through phony publicity contracts.

Which was a hell of a thing to say. Get that man a Ph.D. in flackery with a minor in tact!

Os senadores do PSDB realizam nesta terça-feira uma reunião para discutir as denúncias que envolvem o senador Eduardo Azeredo (PSDB-MG), acusado de se beneficiar do mensalão tucano –esquema de caixa dois na campanha para o governo do Estado em 1998.

PSDB Senators met today to discuss charges involving Azeredo, who is charged with benefiting from the “Toucan Big Allowance” — a caixa dois scheme run by his 1998 campaign for governor.

The scandal is variously known as “the Minas Gerais big allowance,” the “embryo of the PT big allowance,” and so forth.

I prefer to think of it as “Belo Horizonte Baldy’s bottomless cash money pipeline,” because it actually seems to make less difference to me which party used it, and when, than it is to focus on the scheme itself.

Every political species in the Brazilian zoo eventually wet its beak or snout at this watering-hole, it seems. Lighting the bonfire under one or another of this bestiary while the others roam free seems unlikely to extinguish the undesirable behavior. As every dog owner knows: Reinforcement must be consistently applied.

Besides, the whole issue of whether it even was a “big allowance” — financial support in support for votes in Congress — remains murky, as far as I can tell.

What’s interesting is that this is the first time I have heard it referred to specifically as “the Toucan (PSDB) big allowance.”

A Folha Online apurou que durante o almoço, que será comandado pelo presidente nacional do PSDB, Tasso Jereissati (CE), os senadores deverão definir como será o discurso único enquanto se aguarda as conclusões do procurador-geral da República, Antonio Fernando Souza.

Folha found out that during the lunch meeting, which will be chaired by PSDB national president Jereissati of Ceará, the senators will try to define a unified set of talking points while they await the conclusions of federal attorney Souza.

Leaving such meetings until the crisis has already broken out is not best practice in crisis communications.

Also not optimal: Having your communication strategy leak to the press. It makes it look like you are just mouthing canned talking points, rather than thinking spontaneously on your feet, in all sincerity.

Another sign  that Toucan on Toucan violence may be increasing as the party convention nears, and as the PSDB’s alliance with the PFL goes south as well?

Caso o procurador apresente denúncia contra Azeredo ao STF (Supremo Tribunal Federal), os tucanos vão alegar que as acusações envolvem um período anterior à época que o ex-governador estava no Senado. Foi o mesmo argumento utilizado –e aceito pela Mesa Diretora do Senado– pela defesa do senador Gim Argello (PTB-DF), denunciado por quebra de decoro parlamentar.

If the federal attorney indicts Azeredo before the Supreme Court, the Toucans will argue that the accusations involve conduct prior to his Senate term. This was the same argument used — and accepted by Senate leadership — by Gim Argello when he was charged with conduct unbecoming.

Outra decisão é reagir, caso os governistas afirmem que Azeredo mentiu. Para os que o acusarem de faltar com a verdade, os tucanos cobrarão que apresentem provas contra o ex-governador.

Another decision is to fight back in case the government alliance state that Azeredo lied. The Toucans will demand proof from those who accused the former governor of not being truthful.

Alvo do escândalo que colocou o PSDB sob suspeita de ter se beneficiado do valerioduto, Azeredo disse em entrevista à Folha que prestações de contas de campanhas políticas, no passado, eram “formalidade”.

Target of a scandal that has created suspicions that the PSDB benefited from the [“Belo Horizonte Baldy pipeline of cash-money”], Azeredo said in an interview with the Folha that in the past, campaign finance statements were “a mere formality.”

Federal elections auditors recommended rejecting the financial accounting of the last PSDB-PFL national campaign as well, however. In the last national election, I mean. The one with the strict new governance guidelines — I believe the president of the elections authority called it “an iron fist in a kid glove.”

Whatever happened to that?

Incomodado com a falta de apoio de parte de seu partido, Azeredo deverá pedir que seus companheiros de legenda evitem criticá-lo em público.

Upset with the lack of support from his own party, Azeredo is expected to ask his fellow Toucans to refrain from criticizing him in public.

Azeredo disse que teve “problemas” ao prestar contas, mas que a campanha envolvia outros cargos e partidos políticos. Segundo ele, teve apoio do ministro Walfrido dos Mares Guia (Relações Institucionais) nas eleições de 1998 –que teria emprestado cerca de R$ 500 mil para ele.

Azeredo said he had “difficulties” when it came to present his campaign accounts, but that the campaign involved other offices and parties. According to him, he had the support of Mares Guia (current minister of institutional relations) in the 1998 elections. Guia reportedly loand Azeredo R$500,000.

O tucano disse que o dinheiro arrecadado na campanha foi utilizado para ajudar deputados, senadores da sua coligação e até o então candidato à Presidência pelo PSDB Fernando Henrique Cardoso.

The Toucan said the money raised for his campaign was used to help deputies and senators of his coalition, and even PSDB presidential candidate Cardoso.

Again: Ouch.

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