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Recent decades have been marked by a rising interaction between the State and nonprofits in order to address increasingly complex public issues. Government-nonprofit relations were guided by a complex and diverse legal framework, that transformed not only the implementation of public policies, but also the auditing practices and control of such relations. Previous studies have shown the influence of NPM reforms in auditing practices and institutions, of particular interest to this research is the Theory of the Audit Explosion (TEA). This paper analyzes the control of government-nonprofits relations, under the perspective of the TEA, specifically trying to comprehend if there is a causal relationship between the growth of government-nonprofit relations and the audit explosion in the Brazilian context, as predicted by the theory. A field research, based on documentary data and interviews, was undertaken in three Brazilian SAIs. The conclusions highlight the limitations of the explanatory capacity of TEA in Brazil. Although a formal audit explosion was observed, as predicted by TEA, there are substantive barriers to the audit explosion. This is mainly due to the organizational and institutional aspects related to governmental fund transfer entities. Such problems reflect the poor quality of the partnerships themselves and might be a consequence of political variables such as the spurious relationships of some parliamentary members or public employees with partner NGOs.
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