The corporate card and the cafeteria

Image: Agruban


Did Jair Bolsonaro finance the actions of coup plotters, paying for food with public money?

I was asked about using corporate cards in one of those WhatsApp group conversations. The use by Bolsonaro and by… Lula and Dilma Rousseff, who would have done something similar, in their governments.

It was a moral context and the political implications of that. The question was whether this use could violate the constitutional principle of morality in public administration? My answer was “no”.

When a public agent uses a corporate card, their expenses are previously authorized, to reduce bureaucracy and speed up their actions. It is about administrative modernization to optimize the use of public authorities' working time. But they are just technology. Therefore, this usage is neither good nor bad per se. It all depends on how you use the cards.

The CIA uses it. NASA uses.

Have you ever thought about a CIA agent asking for authorization to buy a kibbeh? An astronaut asking an employee for permission to fill up his car on the way to work?

The subject buys, pays, and another administration employee evaluates his expenses, applying the principle of reasonableness. If the expenses are compatible with the operation, ok, approved. If something does not match, an explanation is asked from the cardholder.

What happened in the Lula government?

Orlando Silva, then Minister of Sports, paid for a tapioca, using the corporate card. He could be on some mission, during working hours. Or leaving a movie session. He was a minister of state. The media made a huge fuss about this episode. To avoid what happened, Lula's minister could have paid for the tapioca with his personal card. But he used the corporate. Well, that was enough to be “crucified” by the udenista rage, especially on the right, but also on the left. That is, the use of technology is and will always be conditioned to politics.

But, be careful: how about going to what is relevant in the use of Jair Bolsonaro's card, in the snack bar in São Paulo? What there was? Did he just decide to “give change” to a friend? Of course. The owner of the commercial establishment, whoever he was, was probably a supplier of snacks for the coup camp set up in front of the barracks. This is what must be investigated. Did Jair Bolsonaro finance the actions of coup plotters, paying for food with public money?

I think that's what it's all about, today, now. Clarify whether Jair Bolsonaro is involved in this one, after so many.

I speak “in theory”, certainly, because I don't even know if the expenses in the snack bar in São Paulo are contemporary with the coup plotters' camp. That's why you need to investigate...

*Paulo Capel Narvai is senior professor of Public Health at USP. Author, among other books, of SUS: a revolutionary reform (authentic)


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