chapter  13
14 Pages

Corruption in Brazil

Beyond the criminal law
WithSusan Rose-Ackerman, Raquel de Mattos Pimenta

Corruption in Brazil is linked to aspects of its political system that encourage the misuse of public office for personal and political gain. The electoral system encourages the formation of small, personalistic parties. Proportional elections and the rules for allocating seats produce many legislators who are unknown to the voters. Public financing and illegal payoffs sustain multiple parties that form coalitions in the legislature. Businesses seeking government contracts, regulatory benefits, and tax concessions supply payoffs to executive branch officials in exchange for profitable deals. These payoffs are used to support legislative coalitions, fill party coffers, and enrich individuals in both the executive and the legislature. Reforming this self-reinforcing system will not be easy, but politicians and political parties need to recognize the current dysfunction and work for constructive reforms consistent with democratic principles.