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Brazil - The Lobbying Process

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The Lobbying Process

Three basic styles of lobbying are found in Brasília: the interest group sends its own representatives to Brasília, when the legislative agenda warrants; the interest group has its own representatives permanently installed in Brasília; or the group contracts with lobbyists in Brasília to represent its interests. Professional lobbyists systematically monitor the activities of Congress and the executive branch regarding legislative agendas and procedures. Visits by groups and individual interests to strategic members of Congress are organized frequently. In some cases, the deputies' geographical vote profiles for the last election within their state are analyzed for the client. When the interest group has a large membership, bus caravans to Brasília are organized to pressure Congress or the executive branch.

As in many legislatures, the Brazilian Congress also has inside lobbyists; that is, Chamber of Deputies or Senate staff, and some members themselves (the so-called single-issue deputy or senator). Because staff are very important to the legislative process, they are cultivated assiduously by lobbyists, and many become sensitive to (or eventually agents for) certain interest groups. In response to these pressures, the Chamber of Deputies Research Staff Association began preparing a Code of Ethics in 1993.

Campaign contributions are local and are an integral part of the lobbying process. The Ministry of Finance issues electoral bonus receipts for campaign contributions. Many contributing businesses, however, have used these receipts to evade taxes by providing documentation for their bogus records, known as their caixa dois (second set of books). Several bills have been introduced to address this problem, but no legislation had been passed by early 1997. The Chamber of Deputies allows groups to receive lobbying credentials. In the 1991-92 session, thirty-nine groups (twenty-eight business groups) received credentials, in addition to all ministries and sixteen other public-sector agencies. The Senate does not offer credentials.

Data as of April 1997



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