Bart Bassett has become the ninth New South Wales Liberal MP to be dragged into the the Independent Commission Against Corruption (ICAC) inquiry into alleged political donations.
Commissioner Megan Latham announced new evidence has emerged to widen the inquiry's scope to examine whether Nathan Tinkler's firm Buildev tried to influence Mr Bassett, who is the Member for Londonderry.
Counsel assisting Geoffrey Watson SC told the hearing that there was direct evidence that $18,000 from Buildev was paid through a different company owned by Mr Tinkler and then through the Free Enterprise Foundation to Mr Bassett's 2011 election campaign.
The money was used on advertising.
The inquiry heard that around that time Buildev was involved in a controversial housing development at North Richmond and Mr Bassett was the Mayor of Hawkesbury Council.
In May 2011, Mr Bassett voted for a council residential land strategy that would have benefited Buildev's project.
Buildev co-founder Darren Williams was asked about why the company would make the payment.Mr Watson:* "Was Mr Bassett ever in a position where he could assist Buildev in respect of his project in North Richmond?"
Mr Williams:* "You could assume that."
Mr Watson:* "It's a hard cold fact that he could vote on council in favour of a Buildev proposal, correct?"
Mr Williams:* "Yes."
Mr Watson:* "Have a look at it. Mr Bassett's funding came from Buildev, didn't it?"
Mr Williams:* "Part of it, yes."
Mr Watson then suggested that Buildev was trying to buy influence.
"You don't buy influence, you buy the ability to put your case forward and have your say," Mr Williams replied.
Yesterday Buildev's co-founder David Sharpe struggled to explain why former Labor powerbroker Joe Tripodi did the company multiple favours before the last election.
ICAC was earlier told that Buildev notes revealed the company was plotting with Mr Tripodi to obtain government support for a $1 billion coal terminal in Newcastle.
The hearing continues.