The battle between Senate Majority Leader Michael Sanchez and his challenger, David Chavez, is a bruiser thanks to the unprecedented barrage of attacks against Sanchez funded by Governor Martinez and her right hand man Jay McCleskey.
It’s really more of a race between Martinez-McCleskey and Sanchez than it is a race between Sanchez and Chavez.
Martinez needed someone, anyone, to run against Sanchez after he successfully stopped her harmful agenda for New Mexico in its tracks, and will continue to fight if re-elected.
What is really interesting is just how Martinez-McCleskey are trying to unseat Senator Sanchez. In fact, their involvement could be a big problem for McCleskey, Martinez, and for David Chavez.
The common thread in this web is Jay McCleskey and his company, McCleskey Media Strategies. The problem is that McCleskey Media Strategies appears to have coordinated in communications work with Chavez’s campaign through Susana PAC, while also running an “independent expenditures” only communications campaign against Sanchez.
It’s a lot like an attorney representing different parties in the same legal matter but with separately defined methods. It is not supposed to happen that way.
Independent expenditures are defined as those “not made in concert or cooperation with or at the request or suggestion of such candidate, the candidate’s authorized political committee, or their agents.”
However, communications that are treated as in-kind contributions are, by definition coordinated with the candidate.
So according to the very definition of “independent expenditures”, McCleskey Media Strategies/ Jay McCleskey cannot do both types of communications in the same race.
David Chavez listed an in-kind (coordinated) contribution from Susana PAC dated 5/14/12 for $3,100. The Susana PAC report of expenditures and contributions for 5/8/12- 5/21/12 listed only one expenditure in the amount of $3100.
On 5/9/12, Susana PAC paid McCleskey Media Strategies $3,100 for “mailing”.
It would appear that McCleskey Media Strategies provided coordinated communications to Chavez, his campaign committee, or his agent.
McCleskey Media Strategies, LLC was organized by Jason McCleskey on 1/12/11 (PRC # 4390795). It is located at 6100 Uptown Blvd. NE, Ste. 590, Albuquerque, NM 87110.
According to Susana PAC’s reports, Susana PAC is located at the same address as McCleskey Media Strategies So is the other political committee formed by McCleskey, Reform New Mexico Now.
Reform New Mexico Now has provided ton of attack mailers against Sanchez.
McCleskey Media Strategies provides services not just to Susana PAC but also to Reform New Mexico Now. They are a common vendor with the same common owner.
No firewall in Jay McCleskey’s brain or in his company can make this look like it is not coordinated.
In practical terms, what that means is that all of the alleged “independent expenditure” mailers that were handled through Reform New Mexico Now by McCleskey Media Strategies should also be treated as an in-kind contribution for Chavez and not as an independent expenditure.
We are certain that McCleskey will claim the in-kind contribution was money taken from another expenditure. But most of the large expenditures at that time were to another shared vendor, CD Productions, so that doesn’t solve the problem for them.
Martinez claims to be all about ethics in government. It’s getting harder and harder to see how she can make those remarks with a straight face.