- Associated Press
Friday, March 4, 2016

SANTA FE, N.M. (AP) - An attorney for political consultant Jay McCleskey said Friday that a grand jury has dropped its investigation of the top adviser to New Mexico Gov. Susana Martinez.

Attorney Paul Kennedy said the investigation into campaign finance activities by McCleskey has been terminated and that no related charges are forthcoming. He declined to comment further.

Martinez issued a statement saying she was always confident that complaints against McCleskey would be rejected. She previously acknowledged being questioned by federal agents in the probe of her top political adviser.

“I’m disappointed that some political opponents felt the need to leak misleading information about this in an effort to smear Jay, but I’m glad for him and his family that it’s over,” Martinez said in an emailed statement.

McCleskey has been a consultant to Martinez since she began campaigning for governor in 2009. He guided Martinez to election in 2010 and re-election in 2014, and he has worked for other prominent Republicans in the state, including Republican Albuquerque Mayor Richard Berry.

The U.S. Attorney’s Office in Albuquerque issued a statement saying that “as a matter of policy, Justice Department agencies, including the U.S. Attorneys and FBI, may not comment on investigative matters.”

The probe is said to date back to at least 2013 and touched on campaign fundraising tactics, including payments to McCleskey’s companies from Martinez’s inauguration committee.

The dissolution of the probe comes as Martinez is flexing her political influence on a national level.

Martinez this week endorsed Florida Sen. Marco Rubio for the GOP presidential nomination amid turmoil in the Republican Party over the ascendance of Donald Trump in early primaries. Martinez was scheduled to join Rubio on the campaign trail Friday in Kansas and to speak Saturday at an event for Rubio in Florida.

The Republican Governors Association, a fundraising arm of the GOP in politics at the state level, appointed Martinez as chairwoman late last year.

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