Political pressure forces shutdown of website ranking state legislators' performance in Brazil

The “Diputadómetro,” an online ranking run by the Federation of Business Associations in Santa Catarina (Facisc in Portuguese) evaluating the jobs of state legislators in Santa Catarina in southern Brazil, did not last more than a day. The online ranking was so controversial that it was suspended after legislators voiced their complaints, calling the site "unfair," reported the newspaper Folha de S. Paulo.

According to Facisc, the group that created the site, the idea was to analyze 40 state Congress members based on factors like their presence on committees, the number of bills they proposed, and how many campaign promises they met. Factors such as switching political parties would result in a reduction of points.

Inspired by sites like Impostômetro and Portal Transparência, the aim was to provide information that would allow citizens to draw their own conclusions, explained Facisc.

Congress members questioned the criteria by which they were evaluated, noting that not all legislators participate on committees and that evaluating bills proposed can not be done simply by counting how many proposals were brought forward, according to Diário do Congresso.

In a statement, the president of Facisc, Alaor Tissot, said that the website with the rankings will be unavailable only for a few days while some of the legislators' doubts are addressed. "Our objective is to help the parliamentarians and not to criticize them without motive," he said.

Several business groups reacted against the pressure from the state legislators, filling Facisc's email inbox with messages of support for the website.