Handbook of Political Party Funding
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Handbook of Political Party Funding

Edited by Jonathan Mendilow and Eric Phélippeau

Scrutinizing a relatively new field of study, the Handbook of Political Party Funding assesses the basic assumptions underlying the research, presenting an unequalled variety of case studies from diverse political finance systems.
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Chapter 20: Party funding in Brazil following the re-democratization: a brief critical overview

Ezequiel Martins Paz


The main intention of this text is to provide a brief overview of the Brazilian party funding system after its re-democratization, taking in consideration one specific question: have Brazilian party funding regulations reduced corruption, or simply caused it to shift form? The goal is not to formulate an ultimate theoretic answer based on empirical data, but to show in a brief critical overview how the Brazilian party funding experience constitutes a possible singular contribution to the actual academic discussions on the issue. Basically, the majority of party funding laws and regulations which are in force nowadays have their origin in the military regime. Therefore the text begins by pointing out some historical milestones of the development of the Brazilian party funding system from the start of this regime until 1985, the official beginning of Brazilian re-democratization. The text then takes a critical look at the Brazilian party funding system in the course of its re-democratization. It concludes by revisiting the opening question, namely, did the Brazilian party and electoral laws achieve the goal of reducing corruption, or did they cause corruption to change form and appearance? As is evident from actual corruption scandals, corruption is still one important option for political parties to obtain financial resources in Brazil. We have observed that the problem is not only the country’s party funding system, with its generous public distribution of money among parties, but the lack of legitimacy of the institutions, political parties and politicians which formulate the laws that regulate it. This leads us to the Brazilian party paradox.

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