The Political Junk Shot Epidemic Hits My Hometown

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There’s no reason why you would have heard of Cumberland County, New Jersey. Trust me, I’m from there. Until recently, our claims to fame included serving as one of the last vestiges of “garden” in the Garden State and our proximity to Philadelphia and Atlantic City. But now my home county has gained international attention due to it’s very own junk shot scandal involving a local Democratic pol.

On Tuesday, Lou Magazzu, a member of the county’s Board of Chosen Freeholders (the county-level government body) resigned after naked photos he sent to a woman he corresponded with online appeared on the internet. The photos of Magazzu first surfaced in early July, but it was only this week that story hit the local press. From the Cumberland News:

The photographs were acquired by county Republican political activist Carl Johnson, a long-time enemy of Magazzu, a Democrat, who stated the woman gave him the pictures along with numerous text messages and e-mails allegedly sent between her and the former freeholder.

Magazzu accused the woman of “working with an avowed political enemy” to distribute the photos. His lawyer also argued that this Magazzu’s controversy is different from the national scandal featuring ex-Rep. Anthony Weiner, because the photos were sent “to one adult, consenting woman, in a private capacity.”

My father, also a member of the board, has been tapped to sit on the ethics committee that has been empaneled in the wake of the scandal. I’m not really sure how much ethical policy there is to work out here though. “No photos of your genitalia on the internet” should be a fairly straightforward prerequisite for sitting public officials—unless you were elected based on your past notoriety as a porn star or nude model. Then you get a special pass.

Apparently the Magazzu scandal is making my home county famous. So far, it’s made the New York Daily News, Political Wire, and even the UK’s Daily Mail.

HERE ARE THE FACTS:

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ONE MORE QUICK THING:

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As we wrote over the summer, traffic has been down at Mother Jones and a lot of sites with many people thinking news is less important now that Donald Trump is no longer president. But if you're reading this, you're not one of those people, and we're hoping we can rally support from folks like you who really get why our reporting matters right now. And that's how it's always worked: For 45 years now, a relatively small group of readers (compared to everyone we reach) who pitch in from time to time has allowed Mother Jones to do the type of journalism the moment demands and keep it free for everyone else.

Please pitch in with a donation during our fall fundraising drive if you can. We can't afford to come up short, and there's still a long way to go by November 5.

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