In their book about lobbying, political scientists Emiliano Grossman and Sabine Saurugger define an interest group as “an entity which has the objective of representing the interests of a specific sector of society within the public arena.” So, it would be in democracy’s very nature that people, companies, and organizations try to influence public officials to obtain their objectives – through studies, protests, petitions, and campaigns. Many entities even pay top dollar for professionals dedicated to that activity.
In Brazilian politics, though, few terms can sound as offensive as calling someone a “lobbyist.” In these parts, lobbying is seen as a dishonorable activity, in which only the corrupt would engage. That helps explain why the activity remains unregulated by Brazil’s legislation – and why even proposing to regulate it sounds to some people like advocating in favor of lobbyists.
For the past ten years, a bill aiming to change the legal framework around lobbying has been sitting in the lower house archives. At the beginning of the year, it was finally presented to the House’s committees, which all approved it. Now, the bill must be submitted to a floor vote.