Written by @kristenshylin_
According to the New York Times, members of the House Foreign Affairs Committee accused the U.S. Ambassador to Brazil of asking Brazilian officials to change their trade policies in efforts to get Trump re-elected.
Brazilian news outlets previously reported that U.S. Ambassador Todd Chapman pressured Brazilian President Hair Bolsonaro’s administration to support Trump’s re-election prospects by lowering ethanol tariffs.
According to reports, Chapman made it clear to officials that eliminating taxes would boost Trump’s chances of gaining a victory in Iowa, the largest ethanol producer in the United States, against presidential candidate Joe Biden.
The Times cited two Brazilian newspapers, Estadão and O Globe, which asserted that Chapman repeatedly referenced the election while proposing reducing ethanol tariffs.
However, Brazilian officials who met with Chapman reportedly denied the proposal, adding that they did not want to interfere in the American presidential race, according to the Estadão article.
Lawmakers responded to the news, saying that they were “extremely alarmed” by the claims.
In a letter, Committee Chairman Eliot L. Engel ordered Chapman to present “any and all documents referring or related to and discussions” he has had with Brazilian officials within the past few weeks about their nation’s ethanol tariffs.
Engel called for Chapman to respond, addressing the recent reports by August 4.
If the claims are proven accurate, the letter further stated that Chapman’s actions would indicate a violation of the Hatch Act, which forbids federal employees from campaigning for candidates.
The State Department released a statement Friday stating that the “allegations suggesting that Ambassador Chapman has asked Brazilians to support a specific U.S. candidate are false.”
The statement added that the U.S. “has long been focused on reducing tariff barriers and will continue to do so.”