Want to give tens of thousands of dollars to a political party? Too bad. This isn't some old-fashioned kleptocracy. Canada is a modern nation with modern campaign finance laws.
Nah, just kidding, you can totally do that in Ontario thanks to byelections.
A story Friday from CBC's provincial affairs reporter Mike Crawley shows how the Ontario Liberals pocketed $1.5 million from a byelection they didn't even win.
In theory, a person, corporation or union can only give up to $9,975 to a political party each year.
Even that is insanely generous. It's 6.5 times higher than the federal donation limit of just $1,525.
But Ontario's rules are so loose that every time there's a byelection the cap essentially gets doubled. During every a byelection you can give another 10 grand to the party of your choice and it doesn't count against the normal cap.
During the Whitby-Oshawa byelection this February, 48 companies/associations and three individuals donated the maximum limit to the Liberals despite several of them already making donations this year.
According to the CBC, the Liberals raised $1.6 million while the Conservatives pulled in $784,000. The NDP raised a relatively minor $51,000.
You can only spend $143,000 on a byelection, so all of that excess money gets kicked back to the parties for future use.
Paul McLeod is a politics reporter for BuzzFeed News and is based in Washington, DC.
Contact Paul McLeod at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Got a confidential tip? Submit it here.