​Could byelections become the latest way for political parties to get rich quick?

CBC News has learned the Ontario Liberals raised 26 times more money than they were allowed to spend in the February 2015 Sudbury byelection, which was won by Liberal Glenn Thibeault.

Newly revealed numbers show the Liberals raised $2,223,531. The spending limit in Sudbury was about $83,000, which means they raised 26 times more money than they were allowed to spend.

In comparison, the Progressive Conservatives raised $512,786, and the New Democrats raised $59,638.

The fundraising bonanza shows how donors with deep pockets can give far more than the annual limits, through loopholes in the campaign finance laws. 

The maximum donation one can give to any political party in this province is just under $10,000 each year, unless there's an election, or a byelection. In that case, donors can give almost $10,000 for the year plus another $10,000 for each campaign. 

The Elections Ontario data shows 101 donors gave the Liberals that maximum ($9,975).

The Liberals raised $4 million during two byelections in 2014, in addition to the $2.6 million they raised during the general election campaign.

Corrections

  • A previous version of this story stated in the headline that "Ontario byelections in Sudbury helped Liberals raise $4M" . This is not accurate and has been corrected.
    Apr 08, 2016 2:07 PM ET
with files from Mike Crawley