Dirty politics pays big: Jay McCleskey’s companies made $101,000 per day running Martinez and other GOP campaigns

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Who says dirty politics doesn’t pay?

The Santa Fe Reporter comes with a new analysis of federal and state finance reports show that Jay McCleskey, the governor’s top political advisor and campaign manager, and three firms connected to him were paid $1,700,000 in just 19-days of the past campaign.

While Martinez says she has no national ambition, McCleskey apparently isn’t turning down work for national Republican groups:

In the three-month period ending on Sept. 30, the [Republican Governors Association] paid Martinez’ top political adviser Jay McCleskey’s firm, McCleskey Media Strategies, $30,000 for “consulting” in Arizona and Nevada, according to tax filings. A New Jersey news organization, NJ.com, reports McCleskey has received $90,000 in consulting for the two states in this election cycle.

Washington DC-based FP1 Strategies received $40,450 in the same period, according to tax filings, for ad production. One of Martinez’ campaign representatives, Danny Diaz, heads the political consulting firm.

Virginia-based polling firm Public Opinion Strategies received $63,000 for polling and focus groups in the same period, according to tax filings. McCleskey’s wife Nicole is a partner at the firm, which has done work for Republicans across New Mexico, particularly Gov. Martinez.

In total, the RGA paid the three companies $133,540 in the three month period combined, according to records.

And that’s not all.

Meanwhile, the three companies made a total of $1,922,821.40 from Martinez campaign from Oct. 9 through Oct. 28, according to campaign finance reports with the New Mexico Secretary of State’s Office…   Combined, the three companies accounted for 79 percent of Martinez’ expenditures during a 19-day period—or $101,201 per day.
National groups like the RGA are supposed to be independent of candidates.  That means they can’t share strategy or resources with candidate campaigns like those of Susana Martinez.
Candidate campaigns are also limited in the amount of funds they can receive from donors.  In New Mexico, that limit is $5,200 for governor.  But if the RGA stays independent they can accept unlimited funds and spend that money without limits.
The SFR explains how a company seeking a multi-million dollar state contract donated $75,000 to the Republican Governors Association just two weeks before being awarded that contract:
On September 10, for instance, the RGA reported receiving $75,000 from Scientific Games International Inc., which has scored $6 million in contracts from New Mexico’s Gaming Control Board since Jan. 1, 2011, according to the state’s Sunshine Portal.

The gaming service company entered into a $1.3 million contract with New Mexico’s Gaming Control Board on Sept. 24 for providing IT services, according to the Sunshine Portal.

All this is in addition to the $1.6 M we tracked flowing to McCleskey from 2009-2012:
Recently referred to as a “slick ABQ political consultant” by a member of his own party, Jay McCleskey and his political strategy companies have made over $1.6 million since 2009 in pursuit of electing more Republicans in the predominantly Democratic state of New Mexico…

From 2010 to 2011, Lincoln Strategy Group received $1,061,677.67from Susana for Governor. From 2011 to the present, McCleskey Media Strategies has brought in $207,734.45 from Governor Martinez’s campaign committee and her super-PAC.

In 2010, while McCleskey was a partner at Lincoln, the firm was contracting with Dianna Duran’s Secretary of State campaign and was paid $100,000 for a media buy (Source: New Mexico Campaign Finance Information System).

McCleskey also worked as a consultant on R.J. Berry’s mayoral campaign in 2009 while at Lincoln. While Berry took $328,000 in public financing for his mayoral campaign, according to campaign finance reports Lincoln Strategy Group was paid $218,368.52 – a whopping 66% of taxpayer-funded campaign funds – from Berry during the campaign as well (Source: City of Albuquerque Campaign Reporting).

Additionally, the recently decided race between Pat Woods and Angie Spears – in which the governor took sides in the Republican primary by publicly endorsing Spears – saw McCleskey garner another $47,148.92.

Read our full report from 2012 here.

Who is Jay McCleskey?  Here are a few of our reports to catch you up: