Power

Campaign funding model is narrowing the presidencial race

Since late in 2015, parties in Brazil have been forbidden from taking corporate donations. For many, that made presidential disputes not worth the trouble

presidential campaign funding
Former Governor João Doria was pushed out of the presidential race as the top brass of his party didn’t think it was worth to spend money on a failing presidential bid. Photo: Editorial credit: Vitor Vasconcellos/Shutterstock

After Operation Car Wash unveiled how all major Brazilian parties relied on illegal campaign donations from major corporations (and repaid them with hefty government contracts), the Supreme Court in September 2015 banned corporate donations. Since then, parties have (at least officially) exclusively relied on individual donations and on a publicly-financed electoral fund.

In 2022, the fund will amount to BRL 4.9 billion (USD 1 billion), split among parties according to representation in the House.

Banning corporate donations was supposed to keep interest groups from having an illegitimate influence on politicians. Instead, it granted enormous powers to party leaders —...

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