1st bimester had a 30% increase in the use of fluff under the heading “parliamentary disclosure”; spending always increases in election year
The 1st quarter of 2022 had the record for nominal spending with “dissemination of parliamentary activity“. It was R$ 11.4 million (of which R$ 10.7 million are from deputies).
It is the largest nominal expenditure on this type of expenditure in the historical series of data made available by the powers, which begins in 2008.
Considering the correction for inflation, the year 2018 reached R$ 12 million of expenses in the item. But new expenses for the 1st quarter of 2022 will still be released, which could make the current figure also exceed this level.
The increase in spending follows a pattern: every 4 years there is a spike in this type of spending because of congressmen trying to get reelected. In 2021, the increase in the 1st quarter was 30%.
One rule encourages this: spending on publicizing deputies who try to be reelected in the 120 days prior to the 1st round is prohibited. In the case of senators, 180 days. That is, deputies have until the beginning of June and, senators, until the beginning of April, to spend all they can promoting their actions.
As a rule, none of the quota expenditures can be made with an “electoral nature”. However, publicizing the achievements of deputies and senators on social networks, for example, is not understood as a pre-campaign expense.
The expense ratio of the 1st bimester should still increase. As congressmen have up to 90 days to communicate expenses and present their documentation, other expenses will probably add up to the R$ 11.4 million registered.
The company that received the most resources directly from the quota in 2022 was Facebook: R$ 187 thousand. But there are indirect resources. Congressmen hire marketing agencies that, among other services, deal with the promotion of networks.
As the graph above shows, congressmen rush to use public money promoting their names at the beginning of every election year.
The use of parliamentary quotas for publicity in an election year favors the campaigns of those already in power to the detriment of newcomers. It’s one of the mechanisms that helps keep congressional renewal rates low.
The exception to this pattern was 2018, when there was the largest renewal of the Chamber (47.3%) since redemocratization. In addition to the political moment favorable to the Bolsonarista discourse, of change, the intelligent and cheaper use of social networks counted in the elections.
This disruptive part seems to have been absorbed by the system in these elections. Publicity expenses begin to migrate from producing pamphlets and newspapers with the achievements of politicians to irrigating companies specialized in advertising and promoting deputies and senators on social networks.
Senators are now flirting with the idea of approving more money for paid posts. How much this can contribute to the return of lower renewal rates will be seen on October 2nd.
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