Strategy Memo: Moving the Martinez/McCleskey FBI story forward

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To: Interested Parties
Fr: ProgressNow New Mexico
RE: The Gov.’s bad week

A long-rumored federal investigation into campaign funds and fundraisers for New Mexico Governor Susana Martinez were confirmed late last Friday, advanced primarily by the Santa Fe New Mexican and New Mexico Political Report ( a new non-profit news outlet we seeded in 2015 to expand reporting on politics and elections in NM).

As this story develops, ProgressNow NM is working hard to move it forward in New Mexico and national press.


Online and Social Media

Over the past 7 days, our social media posts of these stories have been viewed more than 48,000 times and received more than 10,000 reads, likes, comments and shares. 

Our email blast to over 82,000 subscribers was in our Top-3 most active engaged emails of the year.

And our blog posts, including our “8 Headlines Susana Martinez Really Needs to Go Away” are getting great reads and traffic online.

Engaging New Mexico and National Press

Monday morning, we sent a summary of the weekend’s developments to national political reporters just as they settled into their desks to start their Monday reporting.  You can read that national press summary here.

Our post on Huffington Post helped put national eyes on the unfolding scandal early.


In New Mexico, our own Victor Reyes provided insight to New Mexico’s largest Spanish-language news outlet. Watch it here

Victor Reyes, ProgressNow - KLUZ Univision ABQ

Victor Reyes, ProgressNow – KLUZ Univision ABQ

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Keeping the Story Moving

We’re also adding to the conversation and keeping progressives engaged in this story by adding our own analysis and takes on this story.

Our right-wing watch project paid off again as we were able to quickly profile unusual payments from GOP PACs and campaigns to lawyers allegedly involved in the ongoing investigation.

PROGRESSNOWNM | Finance reports show GOP candidates, PACs paying large legal retainers as FBI investigation into Martinez/McCleskey goes forward

And our media watch project is tracking how New Mexico news outlets cover this developing story.

PROGRESSNOWNM | Will the Albuquerque Journal cover the FBI investigation into their conservative friends? (update: they finally did, three days after other outlets broke the news)

Read our report above to see the standard the Journal used to report on an alleged investigation into Dem. Gov. Richardson in 2008.  Check it out and decide if the flurry of new reports involving the current FBI investigation into Martinez meets that same standard.

Framing the National Narrative

Next week, Gov. Martinez is scheduled to attend the Republican Governor’s Association meeting in Las Vegas. She is the odds-on favorite to be selected as chair to follow scandal-plagued Chris Christie’s term.  Other attendees include Kansas Gov. Sam Brownback, also under federal investigation for improper fundraising activities.

But the allegations being investigated by the FBI here in New Mexico involve not only Jay McCleskey, the governor’s campaign operative and strategist, but also the governor’s 2011 inauguration which included McCleskey’s wife as executive director and Danny Diaz, now Jeb Bush’s campaign manager, in a key communications and strategy role.

Word of an active federal investigation into their activities may well cause some national GOP and RGA donors to reconsider their support for Martinez. 

In addition, the promise of a bold new direction that helped usher Republicans into statewide offices in 2010 and legislative offices in 2014 has not panned out.

Instead of putting us on a path for prosperity and good government, we’ve seen the secretary of state plead guilty to felonies stemming from her own campaigns (supported by McCleskey), the governor’s appointee to lead the Tax & Rev. Department is under investigation by the state auditor and state attorney general for allegedly either helping a former client get an undeserved tax break, or covering up her own misfeasance as a CPA for that client when she helped him claimed that break without having or keeping proper documentation.

Now a growing list of former administration officials and campaign staff are alleging that they were targeted for tax audits by the same Tax and Revenue Department after they complained about former allies in the Martinez administration.

Their bold new vision for New Mexico is not making us safer, stronger or giving us a better government.  We need new leadership that puts people first and can make us safe again and get to work for real New Mexicans, not just those who profit from political games.

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As a donor, insider and community leader, we want you remind you why PROGRESSNOW is here.  We’re working to be sure real New Mexicans get the news they need, holding the media accountable and moving these stories forward so New Mexico can get the government we deserve.

(Not a ProgressNow donor?  You’re missing insider updates like this strategy memo we sent to donors just as the story broke.  Get yours today by chipping in).