The Canberra Liberals have dismissed donations from Sydney developers as normal practice and ruled out transferring any money to the NSW branch of the party.
The party has received a string of donations in recent months from developers and builders, from Canberra and interstate, as the election draws near.
Donations to the Liberals from a range of sources have outstripped Labor by far.
Labor's total came largely from its 1973 Foundation,which owns a property in Sydney, and has given $455,000 to the party's ACT branch so far this year, making up by far the bulk of the $630,000 total donated to the party in the past 12 months.
The Liberals received $430,000 in donations. The biggest single donation was from noted Liberal donor Paul Marks, who gave $30,000. The Liberals' Victoria division also gave $15,000.
Among the largest local donors to the Liberals over the past year are John de la Torre $10,900, IT specialists Cogito Group $9500, Graham Potts and his Amalgamated Property Group $9400, consultants CMAX Advisory, $8700, the Molonglo Group and Tim Efkarpidis, $8500, John Russell of Braddon $8200, Village Building $7200, the Englobo Group $6000, Millers of Manuka $5000, Geocon $4400, Paul Powderly $4100, Aequum $4000, Civium Property $3300, Chase Building, $2970, and Joseph Cardone $2500.
Among Sydney developers who donated $5000 each are J and M Nassif Property, Merc Shoppingtown, M Projects, Statewide Planning, and Toplace.
The ABC reported on Thursday that Tony Merhi, of Merc Shoppingtown, had appeared before the NSW Independent Commission Against Corruption over allegations he had bypassed the NSW ban on developer donations by donating to a Liberal Party slush fund.
Political donations from developers are banned in NSW but not in the ACT and according to the report, the developers have no apparent business in Canberra with no record of the companies ever working or applying to work in the territory.
Asked whether the NSW developers were donating to the ACT branch to avoid the NSW ban, Canberra party president Arthur Potter said the branch had not and would not be transferring any money to the NSW branch.
"The donations come from people who believe in the party's values and policies and who want to see the party do well." he said. "The party has been completely transparent in disclosing donations as legally required."
The party's deputy leader, Alistair Coe, said the donations were linked to the party's federal campaign.
"I think you will find that all developers in the ACT receive donations from developers, there is nothing wrong with that and all ACT parties do it," he said.
The suggestion brought a quick response from ACT Greens campaign manager Maiy Azize who said the Greens had never accepted donations from developers.