Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham on Tuesday threw her support behind legislation establishing a state office of outdoor recreation, which an unlikely coalition of backers say would boost an industry they view as key to diversifying New Mexico’s economy. The newly elected Democrat did not just put her political muscle behind the idea, either. She put her calf muscles behind it, bicycling from the governor’s mansion to the Capitol in a show of support for Senate Bill 462. “Montana, you’re done. We’ve got it all right here,” Lujan Grisham later told reporters.
A former official in Gov. Susana Martinez’ administration said he has been interviewed by the FBI on several occasions in the past two years. Related Story: Report: FBI looking into Tax and Rev audits
Brent Eastwood, who served from 2011 to 2012 as the New Mexico Economic Development Department’s division director of international trade, told NM Political Report that the FBI interviewed him about issues in state government. Eastwood said his questioning wasn’t related to Martinez’s campaign spending or her top political advisor Jay McCleskey, which the Santa Fe New Mexican reported early Saturday morning. Eastwood said he is not privy to any investigation into McCleskey or campaign spending. “I can confirm to you that I’ve been questioned by the FBI on governance issues with the administration,” said Eastwood, who now heads GovBrain, a Washington D.C.-based firm that analyzes political events and how they affect the stock market.
After announcing last week that it is moving a Moriarty-based subsidiary to California, Google will pay back New Mexico $1 million for funds that went toward building infrastructure. “Though our Titan team is transitioning to the Bay Area, we entered into an agreement with the City and State in good faith,” Google government affairs manager Angie Wellings wrote in a statement to New Mexico Political Report. “We hope this payment allows the community to better position itself for the next wave of investments in Moriarty and in New Mexico.” The move comes nearly one year after the state Economic Development Department announced it was spending $1 million on infrastructure for a building for Titan Aerospace, the solar-powered drone manufacturer that Google bought in 2014. At the time, Gov. Susana Martinez announced that the investments would create between 200 to 300 new jobs.
In the wake of a surprise announcement that Google is moving a Moriarty drone manufacturer to Silicon Valley, the state is apparently scrambling to get back some of money it gave to aid a promise of 200-300 new jobs. Yesterday the Albuquerque Journal quoted Secretary Jon Barela assuring that the state would seek to enforce clawback provisions on Google and reap back “a very sizable portion” of taxpayer dollars from the tech giant. A spokeswoman with the department has not responded to repeated attempts by New Mexico Political Report seeking comment. What’s still unclear is exactly what type of clawbacks New Mexico is entitled to get back from Google, which purchased Titan Aerospace in 2014 amid much fanfare. On top of the crickets we’re hearing from the Economic Development Department, the governor’s office and Estancia Valley Economic Development Association also aren’t returning our calls on this specific question.