The Political Junk Shot Epidemic Hits My Hometown

Fight disinformation: Sign up for the free Mother Jones Daily newsletter and follow the news that matters.


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.

We've never been very good at being conservative.

And usually, that serves us well in doing the ambitious, hard-hitting journalism that you turn to Mother Jones for. But it also means we can't afford to come up short when it comes to scratching together the funds it takes to keep our team firing on all cylinders, and the truth is, we finished our budgeting cycle on June 30 about $100,000 short of our online goal.

This is no time to come up short. It's time to fight like hell, as our namesake would tell us to do, for a democracy where minority rule cannot impose an extreme agenda, where facts matter, and where accountability has a chance at the polls and in the press. If you value our reporting and you can right now, please help us dig out of the $100,000 hole we're starting our new budgeting cycle in with an always-needed and always-appreciated donation today.

payment methods

We've never been very good at being conservative.

And usually, that serves us well in doing the ambitious, hard-hitting journalism that you turn to Mother Jones for. But it also means we can't afford to come up short when it comes to scratching together the funds it takes to keep our team firing on all cylinders, and the truth is, we finished our budgeting cycle on June 30 about $100,000 short of our online goal.

This is no time to come up short. It's time to fight like hell, as our namesake would tell us to do, for a democracy where minority rule cannot impose an extreme agenda, where facts matter, and where accountability has a chance at the polls and in the press. If you value our reporting and you can right now, please help us dig out of the $100,000 hole we're starting our new budgeting cycle in with an always-needed and always-appreciated donation today.

payment methods

We Recommend

Latest

Sign up for our free newsletter

Subscribe to the Mother Jones Daily to have our top stories delivered directly to your inbox.

Get our award-winning magazine

Save big on a full year of investigations, ideas, and insights.

Subscribe

Support our journalism

Help Mother Jones' reporters dig deep with a tax-deductible donation.

Donate