Historic Ruling in Brazil Bans Business from Funding Campaigns*
Here are a few countries that need to do this instead of maintain the farce that a citizen’s vote counts…
The ban seeks to limit economic power that turns “the voter into a puppet, eroding citizenship and democracy,” according to a federal judge.
The Supreme Court in Brazil ruled Thursday in favour of banning businesses from financing electoral campaigns and political parties amid a major corruption scandal that alleges corporations used this mechanism to obtain lucrative contracts with the state-owned oil company Petrobras.
The Court voted 8-3 in favour of the ruling, which aims to limit the influence of big corporations in politics.
“The influence of economic power culminates when it converts the electoral process into a political game of cards already marked, an odious pantomime that transforms the voter into a puppet, eroding citizenship and democracy with a single blow,” Judge Rosa Weber said.
The ruling represents a groundbreaking change in the Brazilian political landscape as businesses contributed over 90% of the total financing of political candidates in the last presidential elections.
The ban now contradicts a bill passed by Congress last week, which in fact allows corporate financing. President Dilma Roussef might veto the bill, but if this is cancelled by Congress, the legislation could turn to the Supreme Court.
The association of lawyers of Brazil presented the case to the Supreme Court in 2013, but it was blocked by a conservative judge until now. The move comes amid a huge corruption scandal alleging that construction and engineering firms paid corrupt officials in order to get lucrative contracts with Petrobras, one of the largest oil companies in the world. The bribes amounted to at least US$800 million paid to individuals – but the company has not been able to say exactly how much money it has lost from these transactions.