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Former Martinez fundraisers fear reprisals for helping in McCleskey case

SANTA FE – Two former political fundraisers for Gov. Susana Martinez have told the U.S. Justice Department they fear reprisals after cooperating with a federal grand jury investigation regarding one of her top advisers.

An attorney for Jay McCleskey announced this month that the investigation into campaign finance activities has been terminated and no charges are forthcoming. McCleskey declined requests for comment Friday.

Republican fundraisers Andrea Goff of Hobbs and Cecilia Martinez of Virginia sent individual letters last week to the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Albuquerque saying they are fearful for their safety after experiencing harassment linked to the federal probe.

Goff confirmed her concerns Friday and said that she had received no direct response to her letter, which was addressed to U.S. Attorney Damon Martinez and shared with New Mexico’s congressional delegation and local FBI agents. The FBI had no comment. The U.S. Attorney’s Office confirmed receipt of the letters and said it does not comment on investigative matters.

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Rep. Steve Pearce, R-N.M., forwarded the letter to the House Judiciary Committee as a matter pertaining to federal law enforcement. Cecilia Martinez, the governor and Damon Martinez are not related.

Goff has been a financial consultant to Pearce since 2012. She served as a financial consultant for Gov. Martinez from 2010 through May 2012, administering campaign, political action and inauguration committees. Cecilia Martinez worked as a fundraiser on the governor’s inaugural and campaign committees.

The probe of McCleskey dates back to at least 2013 and touched on fundraising tactics, including payments to his companies from Martinez’s inauguration committee.

In her letter to the U.S. attorney, Cecilia Martinez reminds U.S. Attorney Damon Martinez of a Feb. 24 phone conversation about harassment as a result of her cooperation.

“You are well aware of the professional and personal retribution I have endured as a cooperating witness for the government in the McCleskey investigation,” she wrote, describing interference with clients and being followed by the governor’s security detail and “the personal threat made to me by the governor.”

The letter from Goff describes harassment by unnamed allies of McCleskey who allegedly contacted her clients, harassed her in front of a community group for cooperating with the FBI and inquired about her physical whereabouts one evening.

“These instances have caused me to be fearful for my family’s safety, as well as my own personal safety,” Goff wrote in the letter.

Goff and Cecilia Martinez also questioned why the Justice Department appeared to drop the matter without letting a grand jury decide whether to issue indictments.

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Gov. Martinez has characterized complaints against McCleskey and concerns about retribution as smear tactics by disgruntled political operatives.

“These disgruntled operatives have a very over-inflated sense of themselves to believe anyone is thinking about them,” said Chris Sanchez, a spokesman of the governor, in an email Friday. “They were let go long ago, and their claims have been rejected over and over again, and now this is just sour grapes. The case is over; we’ve moved on.”

Goff says she resigned in May 2012 out of concerns about how funds were handled in political committees associated with the governor.

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 Albuquerque Mayor Richard Berry.

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