Improper donations to BC Liberals could top $1.5 million: Integrity BC

Rich Coleman speaks to reporters in Victoria.
Rich Coleman speaks to reporters in Victoria. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chad Hipolito

Non-profit group Integrity BC says it has identified 727 donations to the B.C. Liberal Party it believes are suspicious, and is turning the list over to the RCMP.

The donations, made by 118 donors between 2005 and 2016, total $1.595 million, it said.

“We have strong reason to believe that most of these donations – if not all of them – are not recorded in the name of the real donor,” Integrity BC said in a Facebook post on Tuesday.

The group says the bulk of the donations are from lobbyists, while some others work for groups or associations that are partially or fully-funded by the provincial government.

“With some donors on our list it would seem a one-time mistake was made and that no one (party or donor) chose to correct the error. With others it’s repetitive, frequent and on-going,” the group said.

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Earlier this month, Elections BC announced they would be looking into allegations that lobbyists were making donations to the Liberal party in their own names and were being reimbursed by corporations. The investigation was later turned over to the RCMP.

READ MORE: Elections BC reviews donation allegations involving the province’s Liberal Party

Deputy Premier Rich Coleman told media he could not comment on the Integrity BC report because he did not have the numbers.

On Tuesday, Coleman said the party is doing an internal investigation into the matter of improper donations.

“If somebody makes a donation they’re supposed to disclose that they are being paid back by somebody. It appears that may not have happened. [I] don’t want to prejudge that, but if that was the case it is not acceptable to us. We, we play by the rules and follow the law,” Coleman said.

READ MORE: B.C. Liberals to address political party fundraising controversy with new legislation

With files from Simon Little (CKNW)