U.S. Congress demands answers on DOJ and Lava Jato

House Resolution 594 directs US DOJ inspector general to perform a full review of the Department’s activities in Brazil

On September 25 a group of 14 US Members of Congress filed a resolution in the House Committees on Foreign Affairs, Financial Services, and the Judiciary expressing worries about growing violations of human, labor and environmental rights and extrajudicial killings of minorities and activists in Brazil and recommending that the US, World Bank and IMF suspends all aid to the country until the issues are rectified.

One part of the resolution has direct relevance to what Brasil Wire has been writing about for the past several years: the US Department of Justice’s role in the now-proven corrupt and biased Lava Jato investigation, which destroyed Brazil’s construction industry, helped enact the 2016 coup against Dilma Rousseff, caused the political imprisonment of former President Lula and led to the electoral victory of Jair Bolsonaro.

The relevant part of the resolution reads:

Whereas, in July 2017, a senior Department of Justice official stated that it was “hard to imagine a better cooperative relationship in recent history than that of the United States Department of Justice and the Brazilian prosecutors” and cited the Department of Justice’s cooperation with the Lava Jato task force that charged and prosecuted da Silva […] Now, therefore, be it Resolved, That the House of Representatives—

[…](10) calls on relevant international human rights organizations, such as the United Nations Human Rights Committee and the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights, to closely monitor the human rights situation in Brazil.

This is the second Congressional action demanding clarification on the US role in the Lava Jato investigation to come out in recent months. In August, a group of 13 Congressional democrats, led by Georgia Representative Hank Williams demanded that Attorney General William Barr answer 11 questions about the US DOJ’s role in the Lava Jato investigation and the political imprisonment of former President Lula. They gave Barr until September 30th to answer them.

Essentially, US involvement in the Lava Jato investigation, a fact which was readily available public information accessible on the DOJ’s own website for years, is now a matter of Congressional record. Nevertheless, the issue continues to suffer from a near total blackout in the United States, even from left wing publications and most  Brazilianologists in the US academic community. This is troubling due to the long history of US support for regime change against left and center left governments in Latin America. Brasil Wire joins CEPR, the AFL-CIO, Amazon Watch and WOLA in publicly expressing our support for the Resolution.

Read the complete text of House Resolution 594 here.


By Brian Mier

Writer, geographer and former development professional who has lived in Brazil for 26 years. Former directorate member of the Fórum Nacional de Reforma Urbana (National Urban Reform Forum). Has lived in São Luis, Recife, Salvador, Rio de Janeiro and São Paulo. Author of “Os Megaeventos Esportivos na Cidade do Rio de Janeiro e o Direito á Cidade” (CEPR: Porto Alegre. 2016). Editor of "Voices of the Brazilian Left" (Sumare: São Paulo. 2018). Editor of "Year of Lead: Washington, Wall Street and the New Imperialism in Brazil" ((Sumare: São Paulo. 2019) Irregular correspondent for the Chicago radio show This is Hell.