The end of 2015 brought explosive news that the FBI were conducting investigations on New Mexico state government and Gov. Susana Martinez’ top political operative, Jay McCleskey. The first report, by the Santa Fe New Mexican, mentioned that federal authorities were looking into campaign spending by Martinez during her first gubernatorial campaign in 2010 and also spending from her first inaugural committee in 2011. We are counting down the top ten stories through the end of the year with expanded recaps or personal recollections from the three members of the team. Tune in each morning to see what the next story is. Previous: Stories 10-6.
Another day, another revelation about federal investigators looking into the goings-on of the Susana Martinez administration. After NM Political Report reported that the FBI was looking into the Martinez administration itself, The Santa Fe New Mexican added more details to the story, reporting that the FBI was looking into the embattled State Taxation and Revenue Department, citing “a person familiar with the investigation.” The newspaper says that federal investigators subpoenaed documents from the department while looking into whether or not audits were performed in retaliation of former members of Martinez’s administration. The newspaper says that three former members of the administration and a former fundraiser for Martinez, who all fell out of favor, confirmed they had been audited. One was Brent Eastwood, a former division director of international trade for the New Mexico Economic Development Department.
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.