Other parliamentarians recorded losses, in some cases millions. The number of deputies who say they have lost assets in the period is 139, equivalent to 30% of congressmen elected in 2018 who are seeking reelection.
The 2018 data were not adjusted for inflation, since a relevant part of the assets is in properties, which do not have the value readjusted in the declarations.
Specialist in electoral law, lawyer Flávio Henrique Costa Pereira emphasizes that a high equity evolution is not necessarily an indication of crime, since parliamentarians can have other businesses, such as being partners in companies.
“The parliamentarian, in himself, is not banned from his professional life. There are some impediments, but the professional life does not end. Many of them have a partnership, they cannot exercise the administration of the company, but they can be partners”, he says.
The greatest absolute growth in assets is that of deputy José Nelto (PP-GO). It was he who registered R$7.8 million in 2018 and R$48.5 million this year.
In the last election, the congressman from Goiás declared 4 houses, a plot of land, an apartment and a commercial building. Most of Nelto’s equity, however, came from investments in fixed income: R$ 6.4 million.
Now, only in physical assets, Nelto declared 4 houses, 4 lots, 2 sheds, 1 commercial building and 2 bare lands. He also said he has financial investments, investments and shares in companies. Fixed-income investments dropped to just over R$3 million.
Asked about the evolution of the assets, Nelto stated that he is a partner in 10 real estate companies, with a monthly income of R$ 400 thousand to R$ 500 thousand – the companies were declared to the TSE.
In addition, the congressman stated that he bought a property in installments over 5 years, in the amount of R$ 32.8 million, but has only paid R$ 15 million so far. “I have to earn R$18 million from now on to pay for the farm,” he explained.
Nelto also said that he could have created a holding company to not declare the assets in the CPF, as, according to him, other parliamentarians do. “There are 500 parliamentarians who have more assets than I do, who have earned a thousand times more than I do, but they have holding companies”, he commented, without naming names.
He also said that “it pays to be a deputy” since “all the money I earn I have to distribute to 150 municipalities, because you have to pay for a doctor, a consultation, it’s a wheelchair that the citizen wants”.
Other deputies who had large absolute increases in equity are Hercílio Coelho Diniz (MDB-MG), who went from R$38.8 million to R$65.9 million; Misael Varella (PSD-MG), which went from R$20.1 million to R$43 million; Josimar Maranhãozinho (PL-MA), who had R$14.6 million and now has R$25.5 million; and Soraya Manato (PTB-ES), which went from R$5.2 million to R$15.7 million.
To g1, the Maranhãozinho office stated that “the declared equity increase considers goods financed, including in agribusiness, with public and private financial institutions. It also considers the real estate appreciation and gains arising from the agricultural and business activity of the parliamentarian, which is duly declared in his tax register, and this increase has no relation to the public activity performed”.
Soraya Manato said that, “in 2018, I sold my participation in Hospital Metropolitano. At the time, I had a 5.5% stake in the hospital society and I received a very expressive amount as a result of this sale. Therefore, this updating of equity values took place”.
Hercílio Diniz and Misael Varella were contacted, but did not respond until the publication of this text.
Declaration is a form of transparency
Lawyer Renato Ribeiro de Almeida, a specialist in electoral law, explains that the declaration of assets serves for the Justice to be able to analyze the evolution of assets. “It is important for him to do it to show that he already had a certain resource, that he had an equity evolution consistent with his income”, he says.
“If the guy has nothing today and four years from now he has R$ 30 million, either there was a mistake or something happened here”, he exemplifies.
Among the crimes that unjustified large property developments may indicate are money laundering, misrepresentation, corruption and embezzlement, says the lawyer.
Ribeiro de Almeida says that the patrimonial declaration also serves for the voter to be able to better understand the candidates. As an example, he cites a hypothetical candidate whose banner is the defense of animals, but, at the same time, is a businessman in the rodeo business.
“This information is public, relevant for everyone to look at the guy’s assets, what his occupation is, where his resources come from”, he says.
In the same vein, lawyer Costa Pereira says that transparency in this data helps voters to know “more clearly and precisely who they are voting for”.
He adds that, this year, the Electoral Justice reduced the detail that assets need to have, based on the General Data Protection Law (LGPD). Now candidates no longer need to provide telephone, property numbers and license plates, for example.
Deputy do Novo leads losses
At the other end of the ranking, among the deputies who lost the most assets, is congressman Lucas Gonzales (Novo-MG). According to data reported to the TSE, he had more than R$21 million in 2018, but now he has R$3 million, a reduction of 86%.
The deputy’s office informed that the “variation is due to legal movements, of a personal nature and referring to private life, duly declared”.
Nelsi Coguetto (PL-PR), Neri Geller (PP-MT) and Aécio Neves (PSDB-MG) also appear with millionaire losses.
Majority gains equity
TSE’s assets data show that the vast majority of candidates are better off today than they were 4 years ago.
In addition to the monthly salary of BRL 33,800 and a series of benefits, which include the parliamentary quota (from BRL 30,000 to BRL 45,000, depending on the state of the congressman), deputies can also be partners in companies and have other investments.
Of the 479 deputies who were elected in 2018 and are trying to get elected to a position this year, 139 (29%) have lost assets in the last 4 years — the data includes ten deputies who declared they currently have no assets, which could be a registration error . Five parliamentarians had variations below 1% and the others (335) had equity growth.