By Lise Alves, Senior Contributing Reporter

SÃO PAULO, BRAZIL – Brazil’s President Dilma Rousseff vetoed a bill which would make it legal for companies to donate funds to political campaigns. The issue has been a point of disagreement between the Chamber of Deputies, which passed the bill authorizing the donations, the Senate, which prohibited the donations, and the Supreme Court, which found corporate donations to be unconstitutional.

Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, Brazil News.
Voter during 2014 Presidential elections, photo by Jose Cruz, Agencia Brasil.

“The possibility of donations and contributions by corporate entities to political parties and electoral campaigns would confront the political equality and republican and democratic principles, as decided by the Federal Supreme Court,” wrote Rousseff to justify her veto. According to reports, Rousseff consulted with the Justice Ministry and the General Attorney’s Office before making her decision.

The original proposal, voted on by the Chamber of Deputies earlier this year, had suggested a R$20 million limit on corporate donations. The Senate at the beginning of September, in a very tight vote, approved to prohibit any type of corporate campaign funding.

Two weeks ago, however, Supreme Court Justices decided that a law that allowed companies to donate up to two percent of their previous year’s gross revenue to candidates or party campaigns was unconstitutional. Now politicians running for public office will have to seek out contributions from individuals, who may contribute up to ten percent of their previous year’s earnings.

Analysts say that the decision was made after the Lava Jato (Carwash) corruption scandal revealed that all companies involved in the scheme had contributed to political campaigns. According to the Federal Electoral Court (TSE) those companies accused of being part of the mega-corruption set-up donated close to R$98.8 million to both Dilma Rousseff’s and (opposition candidate) Aecio Neves’ presidential campaigns.


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