The coalition government gave Warren Mundine’s company more than $220,000 last year to subsidise a pay-TV show on Sky News Australia.
The former Labor national president was installed as a Liberal Party’s candidate for the next federal election in the ultra-marginal NSW seat of Gilmore.
The decision was controversial because of Mr Mundine’s former association with the opposition party and the fact that he does not yet live in the electorate.
Before his recent return to politics, the conservative commentator hosted two seasons of Mundine Means Business, which looks at entrepreneurship in Indigenous communities.
The show was partly funded by a government grant which was awarded to Mr Mundine’s business Nyungga Black Group through a “closed non-competitive” selection process.
Buzzfeed News reports that a second grant worth $330,000 was also given to Mr Mundine’s company in 2017 to provide advice to the government about its Indigenous business strategy and develop a TV show celebrating success in the sector.
NITV News is not suggesting any wrongdoing in the awarding of the grants. The decisions were made before Mr Mundine became a member of the Liberal Party and when Malcolm Turnbull was prime minister.
For months there has been speculation in the media that Mr Mundine’s business interests could endanger his eligibility to run for office under section 44 of the constitution.
In the NSW town of Nowra earlier this week, Prime Minister Scott Morrison introduced his "mate" to reporters as the endorsed Liberal candidate.
"I've always been an honest speaker. I've always said what I believed in," Mr Mundine said.
"The Liberal Party is the home for me because it is about creating jobs."