April 11th, 2018

Legislative Newsletter - Edition 086

Lobby, condemned to vigilance to protect freedom

The Bill (1202/2007), by the Congressman Carlos Zarattini (PT/SP) which “regulates the ‘lobby’ activity and the pressure of interest, received a positive opinion expressed in the amendment delivered on the Plenary.

Legislative Newsletter - Edition 086

The Bill (1202/2007), delivered by the Congressman Carlos Zarattini (PT/SP) which “regulates the ‘lobby’ activity and the pressure of interest acting groups and similar in relation to Public Administration bodies and agencies”. The Bill received a positive opinion expressed in the amendment delivered on the Plenary by the Representative Cristiane Brasil (PTB/RJ) – Rapporteur for this Bill, in April 04 of 2018. It means that the next step is the voting on the Floor of the House of Representatives and, then, submitting it for Senate analysis.

Even though the media is telling that the lobby is about to be regulated, what is it lobby and what does the text to be approved by the congressmen regard this activity really say?

Lobby is a modern term created by the American president Ulysses S. Grant, president from 1864 to 1869. The term was about people who approached him at a hotel lobby[1] for talking, however the experience and representation of people and pression groups rememorates the beginning of Democracy, about 400 b.C when Sólon by the means of his reforms established the first principle of the classic athenian democracy.

In this political regime [Athenian Democracy] were considered citizens only those who were able to speak on the greek Agora, in other words, in the meetings where  the pólis (greak city) had its paths established. It means that already in the time of Sólon there were groups of interest organized towards defending specific interests.

Therefore, the actual lobbyists are heirs of the greek spirit using words to defend interest groups and, in collaboration with the Government and the Judiciary, creating, controlling and participating of the elaboration and establishment of rules in the mid of Society.

In this terms, the global substitutive to the Bill (PL 1.202/2017) reported by Representative Cristiane Brasil, in its  Article 2, states that “The representation of interests in the process of policy decisions disciplined in this Law is a genuine activity that wants to contribute to the normative and regulatory environment balance of the country”, after all, the defense of interests will always exist in a democracy, which is founded in such defense to implement its effects. the way it founds and generate its effects.

This debate and conflict of interests are presented in the discussion of the Bill (PL 1.202/2007). This may be confirmed remarking that the project was presented on the Floor 05.30th.2007, passing by some specific Committees since then, and it has also been submitted to discussion in public hearing. Finally, the Bill received an amendment, which was also modified by a global substitutive. In result of that, the essence of democracy related to the acting of interest groups is expressed as the content of PL 1.202/2007.

It emphasizes, however, that the Bill does not propose defending of all each individual interest, but just those respecting the Federal Constitution (Art. 37) what is indicated in the Article 2. Not only in the Bill but also in ethics, transparency, public interests, right to petition and isonomy; remembering that  in case of acting this professional to produce a harm to the State, then both the professional and the decision maker will face criminal persecution.

Toward this point, the Bill dedicated to lobby has as goal to regulate the activities of institutional and governmental agents relations, providing bigger transparency in the defense of interests, security in the action and defense of democratic regimes, since, in the words of Jean Jacques Rousseau, “there is no forms of government so bound to civil wars and internal agitations as the democracy or popular form, because there is no other that tends so strongly and continually to change its forms, not even one that requires more vigilance and courage to be maintained in its original form”[2], in other words, we are condemned to vigilance to guarantee our freedom.
Acessed in 10/04/2018 at 8h30 min
[2] ROUSSEAU, Jean-Jacques. The Social Contract in Pensadores. Trans.: Lourdes Santos Machado, São Paulo: Editora Nova Cultura Ltda, 1999. Pag. 151