Are anyone’s hands clean? Meet the Brazilian line of succession

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Dilma Rousseff Suspended Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff reacts during her impeachment trial at the Federal Senate in Brasilia, Brazil, Monday, Aug. 29, 2016. (AP Photo/Eraldo Peres)

Impeachment proceedings against President Dilma Rousseff have put a spotlight on corruption in the ranks of Brazil’s lawmakers. Watchdog groups say about 60 percent of the 594 legislators in both chambers of Brazil’s congress are being investigated for wrongdoing or are facing corruption charges – including the three men in line to replace Rousseff if she is removed from office. Learn more about her possible successors:

1
st in line: Vice President Michel Temer

Dilma Rousseff, Michel Temer

Brazil’s President Dilma Rousseff (R) and Vice President Michel Temer (L) in more cordial times. A ceremony at Planalto Palace in Brasilia, Brazil. April 24, 2012 (AP Photo/Eraldo Peres)

In a plea bargain, former senator Sergio Machado said that Temer asked him to channel $400,000 in Petrobras kickbacks to 2012 Sao Paulo mayoral candidate, Gabriel Chalita, a member of Temer’s party. Machado said the payments were made in the form of campaign donations by the construction firm Queiroz Galvao. Temer denies wrongdoing and has not been charged.

Rousseff has accused Temer of being the ringleader in the push to oust her, meanwhile Temer has presented himself as a reluctant savior who just wants to do what is best for a divided country.

Another former senator turned state’s witness recently accused Temer of appointing a lobbyist to distribute bribes from 1997 to 2001 in ethanol deals involving Petrobras. Temer also denies wrongdoing.

Three ministers in Temer’s interim government were also forced to resign right after taking office due to corruption allegations.

Temer is banned from running for office in the next eight years because Sao Paulo’s electoral court found him guilty of violating campaign spending laws in 2014. He can however take over Rousseff’s term until it concludes in 2018.

2
nd in line: Speaker of the lower house of congress, Rodrigo Maia

Congressman Rodrigo Maia (DEM-RJ)

Congressman Rodrigo Maia (DEM-RJ), when he was elected president of the Chamber of Deputies (Photo: AP)

Maia has been accused by a key aide to a governor of receiving illegal campaign donations. The aide’s governor was convicted of taking part in a corruption scheme involving overpriced contracts to many companies. The probe goes to back 2010. Maia denies wrongdoing and has not been charged.

3
rd in line: Senate President Renan Calheiros

Renan Calheiros

Brazil’s Senate leader Renan Calheiros attends the impeachment trial of suspended President Dilma Rousseff, in Brasilia, Brazil, Friday, Aug. 26, 2016. (AP Photo/Eraldo Peres)

Calheiros would serve as acting president when Temer and Maia travel outside Brazil. The country’s Supreme Federal Tribunal currently has several open investigations against Calheiros in the Petrobras probe. He denies wrongdoing.

Sergio Machado, a former senator and Transpetro boss, has said Calheiros received almost $10 million in bribes over 10 years.

A former Petrobras director has also accused Calheiros of threatening to withhold support unless he was paid off. The same ex-director also said Calheiros was paid $1.7 million through a Petrobras lobbyist in a case related to drill ship contracts.

The second day of the Rousseff’s trial turned into a yelling match and was temporarily suspended on Friday after Calheiros declared “stupidity is endless” and sharply criticized a colleague who had questioned the body’s moral authority.

BONUS
Ousted Chamber of Deputies Speaker Eduardo Cunha

Sen. Eduardo Cunha

Sen. Eduardo Cunha (AP)

Cunha, who spearheaded the impeachment measures against Rousseff, would have been second in line but was removed as speaker by Brazil’s highest court while he is investigated in several cases. He could still be stripped of his seat by his colleagues.

Prosecutors have accused Cunha of corruption and money laundering for his role in negotiating contracts for drill ships, and said he received an illegal payment of $5 million.

Swiss prosecutors said Cunha held secret bank accounts at Julius Baer bank, with media reports putting their value in December at 2.4 million Swiss francs ($2.5 million). Brazilian investigators say Cunha also has had undeclared accounts in the U.S. since 1990 totaling more than $20 million.

Story compiled with information from The Associated Press