A federal grand jury is looking into allegations involving Gov. Susana Martinez’s political adviser Jay McCleskey, the Albuquerque Journal is reporting. That includes examining money spent on Martinez’s 2010 inauguration celebration.
The Santa Fe New Mexican reported on Friday that the FBI was asking questions about Martinez’s fundraising, the inauguration, and McCleskey. The new article from the Journal could indicate something more significant — that the FBI and U.S. Attorney’s Office have asked a grand jury to issue subpoenas.
In New Mexico, local and state law-enforcement agencies can bypass grand juries and obtain subpoenas from judges. But federal agencies like the FBI need the U.S. attorney to go to a grand jury for a subpoena.
In a separate article published over the weekend, The New Mexican reported that federal investigators had subpoenaed records from the state Taxation and Revenue Department as they consider allegations that former members of Martinez’s administration or political team who are now at odds with her were targeted with retaliatory audits. That would also mean involvement by the U.S. attorney and a grand jury.
The new article from the Journal cites “several people close to the investigation.” One of them, a “former Martinez supporter interviewed by the FBI,” said people involved in the inauguration “have complained that more than $100,000 in checks were issued without invoices showing what the money was spent on and that substantial amounts were paid to businesses controlled by McCleskey.”
That included “$40,000 for a video of the inauguration that may not have been produced,” the Journal quoted the source as saying.
Martinez rejected any suggestion of wrongdoing on Monday, saying she is “confident that neither Jay nor anyone else has done anything wrong.” She also said, as a former prosecutor, she trusts “the system to look into and then reject these types of political cheap shots.”
McCleskey hasn’t spoken publicly about the investigation.
Martinez’s organization said in 2011 that it raised more than $960,000 and spent more than $860,000 on the inauguration. It also said it donated about $106,000 in leftover funds to SAFE houses throughout the state. The committee released no other information about how it spent the money.
New Mexico doesn’t have laws regarding donations to and spending by inauguration committees, including any rules that require public disclosure.