The State Department said in a statement to The Times that the allegation “Chapman asked Brazilians to support a specific American candidate is false” and that the United States will continue to work to reduce tariffs.
But Democrats fear Chapman’s actions violate the Hatch Act, which prohibits federal employees from making partisan remarks that could influence an election while using their official title.
According to the Times, the chairman of the House foreign affairs committee Eliot EngelEliot Lance EngelSherman Joins Race for House Foreign Affairs Hammer Castro Launches Bid for House Foreign Affairs Hammer The Hill’s Morning Report – Brought to you by Facebook – Trump and GOP Senators disagree on next PLUS stimulus bill (DN.Y.) sent a letter to Chapman on Friday asking him to hand over “all documents referring to or related to discussions” with Brazil over tariffs. Engel also said the committee will investigate the matter and the reports.
“These statements are totally inappropriate for an American ambassador,” Engel reportedly wrote in the letter.
The New York Times highlights reports from The O Globo newspaper and its competitor Estadão, which cite multiple sources as saying Chapman brought up Trump’s re-election in negotiations, suggesting that it is to Brazil’s advantage that Trump stays in the power.
According to the Times, reports on Chapman do not say he explicitly asked for help with the Trump campaign, but linked the ethanol trade to the election.
The allegations come as the United States pushes to negotiate an end to ethanol tariffs, as a key framework expires next month and it is possible that a 20% tax on all ethanol imports in the country. Brazil can be implemented. Such a tax would hurt American industry, as it is already dealing with the fallout from the coronavirus pandemic.