Who is Roberto Jefferson
Roberto Jefferson Monteiro Francisco was born in Petrópolis, State of Rio de Janeiro, on June 14th 1953.
Majored in Laws at University Estácio de Sá, in Rio de Janeiro, in 1979; after college, worked as lawyer and Professor.
Jefferson´s grandfather was one of the founders of PTB, one of the Labor Parties in Brazil; Jefferson´s father was also affiliated with the Party, having been elected for a term as councilman in Petrópolis. Roberto Jefferson started his political career in 1971 when he joined MDB; in 1980, he moved to PTB, and hasn´t changed since.
In early 1980s, Roberto Jefferson was one of the hosts of a popular program called "O Povo na TV" (People on TV). This program showed cases of adultery, family clashes, etc., and Jefferson was eventually called in to tell which party was right.
Jefferson used the popularity brought by "O Povo na TV" to win elections for Federal Deputy in 1982. Since then, Jefferson was elected for six consecutive terms (last time in 2002), being today one of the most experienced member of the Parliament.
Jefferson gained notoriety in 1992, during the process of impeachment of ex-President Fernando Collor de Mello. Because he defended until the end the rights of Collor, Jefferson became known as the "leader of the shock troop".
By this time, Jefferson had a fat figure (over 200 pounds, which were nearly cut in half after an stomach surgery) and used to carry weapons on him; he admitted that he deserved the nick of "troglodyte", as part of the media referred to him.
In 1993, Jefferson was questioned by a Probing Comission which investigated corruption in the Budget Comission; the Comission ended up punishing eleven Deputies, but Jefferson was acquitted.
In the 2002 elections, PTB candidate Ciro Gomes didn´t pass the first round; in the second round, PTB supported Lula; after Lula took office, PTB became part of the government coalition. In the 2004 elections for mayor, PTB and PT joined forces (which is allowed by law) in several municipalities.
Over the last years, Jefferson occupied leadership positions within his Party, and, as such, he was responsible for negotiating with the government the commitments and compensations derived from the coalition.
In Lula´s government, PTB appointed the Minister of Tourism and directors for, among other State companies, the Postal Service, the Reinsurance Company and Eletrobrás.
In May 2005, a lower level manager of the Post Office was caught accepting R$ 3,000 (a little over US$ 1,000) in bribery. A video tape showed the manager affirming that Jefferson was the mentor of a huge corruption scheme which operated not only in the Post Office, but in other State companies.
Roberto Jefferson denied any relationship with the bribing case (and no evidence was found that he had any relationship). However, pressured by a sequence of new denounces which arose, and feeling he had no support from his allies, Jefferson broke up with the government and started to present denounces about corruption in Lula´s government.
Read more about scandal in Lula´s Government.
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