Finally the Press of Atlantic City and the Daily Journal covered NACo-Gate in a fair and unbiased manner. Between the two articles they cover most of the basic facts, and give both sides of the story.
To put it in a nutshell, Dan Walsh writes:
To raise money for his campaign, Magazzu turned in many cases to businesses that work for Cumberland County government or within the county. For example, Fralinger Engineering, of Hopewell Township, gave $5,000, as did Goodman Properties, the developer of a major shopping center in Millville.
Magazzu also secured $11,000 combined from Gov. Jon S. Corzine and Senate Majority Leader Steve Sweeney, D-Salem, Gloucester, Cumberland. In his role as county Democratic chairman, Magazzu approved loaning $10,000 of his party’s money to his NACo campaign.
And it is the appearance of impropriety, and the appearance that our county is up for sale to the highest bidder that has us most concerned. Joe Smith writes:
Republicans and the Independent Leaders (a slate of former Democratic freeholders) have been hitting the financing as an example of improper, if not illegal, fundraising. They argue that, at the minimum, it creates an appearance that access to county government could be for sale.
To be certain, the whole thing does fall into a gray area. Since NACo is not a political campaign, it is not governed by ELEC. however, the CCDO is a political entity that is governed by ELEC, and it does not appear that it is within the rules to use campaign donations to give a personal loan to the chair of the party.
Furthermore, the $81,000 in gifts to Magazzu were never declared, which is an infraction of federal laws. Nor was mention was made of gifts and expenditures that occurred last year, prior to the Cumberland County Ethics Code being changed for the sole purpose of aiding Lou Magazzu in his NACo run.
There are so many unanswered questions, including who signed the $10,000 check to Lou? Who approved that loan? It wasn’t Brendan Kavaugh, as Lou Magazzu claims. Lou Magazzu said “Campaign chair Brendan Kavanaugh approved the loan”. the problem is that the loan was made almost a month and a half BEFORE Kavanaugh held that position.
However, Lou’s answer to these allegations is part true.
“The average person doesn’t care about NACo,” Magazzu said. “They care about jobs. They care about taxes.”
Yes, indeed. The average voter does care about taxes, and about how their county property taxes have almost doubled under Magazzu in the past six years. The average person does care about employment, and Cumberland County’s 13% unemployment rate. They care about Nelson Thompson’s unions hiring Camden County and Philadelphia people for Cumberland County jobs. So take it from Lou himself, don’t pay attention to NACo, pay attention to what he has done with your property taxes, and what he has done about jobs.