After federal agents arrested dozens of New Jersey politicos last month, some readers of the criminal complaints against them took solace in knowing that there was at least one public official who “could not be owned.”
That person was briefly mentioned in the complaint against Jersey City veteran political consultant Joseph Cardwell who, discussing corrupt officials to hook an FBI informant up with, mentioned there was a “particular state government official who could not be owned.”
In today’s Politifax, editor Nick Acocella writes he has “excellent reason to believe” that the official is state Sen. Sandra B. Cunningham (D-Jersey City).
Since she entered the Hudson County political fray after the death of her husband, former Jersey City Mayor Glenn Cunningham, Cardwell has been Cunningham’s chief political advisor.
Reached over the phone this morning, Cunningham said she did not know that she was the official in the complaint.
“Well, I can’t be owned. It’s absolutely true. My husband was a U.S. Marshall. I would never do anything that would in any way hurt his name or his reputation… I’m un-bossed and un-bought,” she said.
The news comes as a welcome respite for Cunningham, who, aside from watching her closest political advisor marched into FBI headquarters in handcuffs on television, is facing political heat for blocking Gov. Corzine’s nomination of Hudson County Executive Tom DeGise to the Port Authority.