Chapter 2 unpacks the transition from military dictatorship to democracy in Brazil, and how this transition both shaped, and was shaped by, access to money in the political arena. Two key pieces of legislation shaped the reform process, the 1995 law on political parties, and the 1997 law on elections. These reforms were triggered by a scandal that resulted in the impeachment of President Collor de Melo in 1992. The previous legal framework was based on rules restricting political competition under authoritarian rule. The 1990s reforms abolished bans on donations from companies, but not trade unions, catering to business interests. Public funding and indirect state support through free radio and television access were introduced. It is argued that the larger pool of funding has enhanced political competition in Brazil, while the increased disclosure requirements have exposed the close links between the private sector and politicians—especially around election time.
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