According to a report in the Santa Fe Reporter, the FBI is apparently investigating the “inner circle” of New Mexico Governor Susana Martinez in regards to a controversial deal for a casino and horse track.
The governor, who is a rising star within the GOP, campaigned on the premise of stamping out corruption after pay-for-play questions were raised about the previous Democratic Governor Bill Richardson. But according to the Santa Fe Reporter, the FBI has expanded their investigation to Martinez:
SFR’s sources, who request anonymity because they fear retribution, say the FBI interviewed them about key aspects of the Downs deal: the bidding process, and the relationships between Downs players and top public officials. Specifically, they say the federal agency asked about consulting payments to Jay McCleskey, Martinez’ top political advisor (who is not a state employee). An attorney for one of the campaign staffers interviewed by the FBI confirms the interview within the past two weeks.
The deal has generated controversy from the very beginning, with a multi-million dollar 25-year lease to a politically-connected firm that apparently has a “poor record” according to critics — but had a very close relationship with the governor’s office. Owners and executives of the firm donated $80,000 to Martinez’ campaign.