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Robert Torricelli

Robert Guy Torricelli (born August 27, 1951), nicknamed "the Torch", is an American politician who served as the United States senator from New Jersey from 1997 to 2003 and a member of the U.S. House of Representatives from New Jersey's 9th district from 1983 to 1997. From 1999 to 2000, he served as the chairman of the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee.

Robert Torricelli
Robert Torricelli.jpg
United States Senator
from New Jersey
In office
January 3, 1997 – January 3, 2003
Preceded byBill Bradley
Succeeded byFrank Lautenberg
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from New Jersey's 9th district
In office
January 3, 1983 – January 3, 1997
Preceded byHarold Hollenbeck
Succeeded bySteve Rothman
Personal details
Robert Guy Torricelli

(1951-08-27) August 27, 1951 (age 68)
Paterson, New Jersey, U.S.
Political partyDemocratic
Spouse(s)Susan Holloway (divorced)
EducationRutgers University, New Brunswick (BA)
Rutgers University, Newark (JD)
Harvard University (MPA)

Torricelli helped rewrite federal bankruptcy rules, assuring federal financing for hospitals. A leading voice for tax cuts, he was the author of the provisions reducing taxes for middle income families and making college tuition tax deductible. He obtained over $1 billion in federal funding for the construction of affordable housing in New Jersey. Additionally, Torricelli established the federal urban park restoration program and secured funding for law enforcement and education, leading to the addition of thousands more police officers and reductions in class sizes.

He served a single term in the Senate, dropping his run for re-election in October 2002 after a campaign finance scandal involving contributions by David Chang, an imprisoned Korean businessman. He subsequently founded Rosemont Associates, a consulting group.[1][2]

Early life and educationEdit

Torricelli was born in Paterson, New Jersey, the son of Betty (Lotz), a school librarian, and Salvatore Torricelli, a lawyer.[3] After graduation from Storm King School in Cornwall-on-Hudson, New York, Torricelli attended Rutgers University, New Brunswick where he received his Bachelor of Arts degree in 1974. He then earned his law degree in 1977 from Rutgers Law School in Newark. He was admitted to the New Jersey bar in 1978 and later attended Harvard University's John F. Kennedy School of Government, earning a master's in public administration in 1980.[4] While at Rutgers, he was elected class president his junior and senior year.[citation needed]


Torricelli was an assistant to the Governor of New Jersey, Brendan Byrne, from 1975 to 1977. In 1978, he served as associate counsel to Vice President Walter Mondale,[3] and managed the Carter-Mondale campaign in the Illinois primary.[5] At the 1980 Democratic National Convention, he served as the director of the Rules Committee.[6]

U.S. House of RepresentativesEdit

In 1982, Torricelli ran for U.S. Congress, defeating incumbent Republican Harold Hollenbeck.[7] Torricelli served in the U.S. House of Representatives from 1983 until 1997 representing New Jersey's 9th congressional district.[8]

Toricelli was a resident of New Milford, New Jersey during his first term in Congress.[9][10]

Torricelli was Democratic floor leader in the Persian Gulf War discussion regarding the adoption of the "Authorization for Use of Military Force Against Iraq Resolution" in 1991 and gave the closing speech.[11] He sponsored the Cuban Democracy Act of 1992 which prohibits U.S. trade with Cuba.[5][12] He was chairman of the House subcommittee on the Western Hemisphere.[13]


He was elected to the U.S. Senate in 1996, defeating Republican Congressman Dick Zimmer to obtain the seat vacated by the retirement of Democratic Senator Bill Bradley.[8] It was later found that six donors had made illegal contributions to Torricelli's campaign.[14] In 2000, he headed the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee[8] which regained the Democratic majority in the Senate.[15] Torricelli was responsible for recruiting Senate candidates including Hillary Clinton.[16]

Late in the 2002 Senate election against Republican Doug Forrester, Torricelli received a formal letter of admonishment from the U.S. Senate Select Committee on Ethics for his involvement with campaign donor David Chang.[17][18] The investigation was later dropped when attorney Mary Jo White issued a letter of clearance.[19][20]

When Torricelli withdrew from the campaign on September 30, 2002, he stated that despite leaving public office in a different way than he had planned, he was proud of his service.[citation needed] Shortly thereafter, the New Jersey Supreme Court unanimously ruled that the Democratic Party could legally replace Torricelli's name on the ballot with that of former U.S. Senator Frank Lautenberg.[21][22] In 2007, Torricelli drew public criticism despite federal rules allowing retired officials to give leftover campaign funds to political parties, candidates and charities when his leftover campaign funds, given to the Rosemont Foundation, were not funneled back to his political party.[23][24]

During his time in the Senate, Torricelli was a member of the Governmental Affairs Committee, Finance Committee, and Rules Committee.[25]

Post-congressional careerEdit

In 2003, Torricelli was appointed by the U.S. Federal District Court special master overseeing the environmental cleanup project of the Mutual Chemical site In Jersey City, New Jersey, owned by the Honeywell Corporation.[26]

Torricelli founded business and government affairs consulting firm Rosemont Associates.[27] He is a partner in real estate firm Woodrose Properties, which is invested in over 50 multi family or commercial properties in 10 states.[28][29] Torricelli represents the Iranian opposition group, the MEK.[30][31]

Personal lifeEdit

Torricelli was previously married to Susan Holloway,[5] and dated Bianca Jagger.[8]


  • Robert Torricelli Andrew Carroll (1999). In Our Own Words: Extraordinary Speeches of the American Century. WSP.
  • Robert Torricelli (2000). Quotations for Public Speakers: A Historical, Literary, and Political Anthology. Rutgers University Press.

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ Hernandez, Raymond; Chen, David W. (24 August 2007). "NOW A LOBBYIST, EX-SENATOR USES CAMPAIGN MONEY". The New York Times.
  2. ^ Mary Ann Akers; Paul Kane (May 1, 2008). "A Politician's Favorite Charity Is..." Washington Post. Retrieved December 18, 2016.
  3. ^ a b Jennifer Preston (November 6, 1996). "Focused and Passionate Campaigner". The New York Times. Retrieved June 1, 2016.
  4. ^ "Bob Torricelli". Washington Post. Retrieved June 1, 2016.
  5. ^ a b c BRETT PULLEY (October 31, 1996). "Torricelli's Wide-Reaching Goals Inspire and Enrage". New York Times. Retrieved 3 September 2012.
  6. ^ Mary Thronton (July 3, 1980). "Battle Over Convention Rules Begins". The Dispatch. Retrieved June 1, 2016.
  7. ^ Samuel G. Freedman (October 30, 1982). "A 3-Term Congressman Woos New Constituency". The New York Times. Retrieved June 1, 2016.
  8. ^ a b c d Michael Gross. "Senator Robert Torricelli: Suburban Boy Patriot, Bianca Jagger Boyfriend, Flaming Partisan". Michael Gross. Retrieved June 1, 2016.
  9. ^ Parisi, Albert J. "Return of Body Expected", The New York Times, January 30, 1983. Accessed June 2, 2017. "A body that may be that of a missing New Jersey freelance journalist is expected to be shipped to the United States this week at the request of Representative Robert Torricelli, a freshman Democrat from New Milford."
  10. ^ Barone, Michael; and Ujifusa, Grant. The Almanac of American Politics 1988', p. 755. National Journal, 1987.
  11. ^ "U.S. Congress - Congressional Record". Congressional Record: H424. January 12, 1991.
  12. ^ "Timeline". Frontline. Retrieved June 1, 2016.
  13. ^ Morris Morley, Chris McGillion (September 16, 2002). Unfinished Business: American and Cuba After the Cold War. 1989-2001. Cambridge University Press.
  14. ^ Kocieniewski, David (6 January 2001). "As Bush Rises, Torricelli Cools Partisan Fire". New York Times. Retrieved 8 October 2014.
  15. ^ "Tribute to Departing Senators". November 20, 2002. Retrieved June 1, 2016.
  16. ^ Hillary Clinton (2003). Living History. Simon Schuster. pp. 495–496.
  17. ^ Letter of Admonishment
  18. ^ John Harwood, Shailagh Murray (September 30, 2002). "Torricelli Throws in Towel In New Jersey Senate Race". The Wall Street Journal. Retrieved June 1, 2016.
  19. ^ David Kocieniewski, Tim Golden (January 4, 2002). "Charges Ruled Out As U.S. Concludes Torricelli Inquiry". The New York Times. Retrieved June 1, 2016.
  20. ^ "N.J. Senator Torricelli cleared in federal probe". CNN. January 3, 2002. Retrieved June 1, 2016.
  21. ^ "Supreme Court of New Jersey A-24 September Term 2002" (PDF). Find Law. Archived from the original (PDF) on 2016-03-04. Retrieved June 1, 2016.
  22. ^ Tom Turcol (October 10, 2002). "Rivals feud over Senate debates Frank R. Lautenberg wants to add third-party candidates. Douglas Forrester sees a ploy to evade a direct encounter". Retrieved June 1, 2016.
  23. ^ Hernandez, Raymond; Chen, David W. (2007-08-24). "Now a Lobbyist, an Ex-Senator Uses Campaign Money". New York Times. Retrieved 2008-04-23.
  24. ^ "Political donations from ex-senator's coffers questioned". Las Vegas Review-Journal. August 25, 2007. Retrieved June 1, 2016.
  25. ^ "Interview with Robert Torricelli". Rutgers. Retrieved June 1, 2016.
  26. ^ Laura Mansnerus (May 24, 2003). "Torricelli to Oversee Honeywell Toxic Cleanup". The New York Times.
  27. ^ Charles Hack (August 12, 2011). "Former New Jersey Sen. Robert Torricelli has job lobbying government for owners of Bayonne Medical Center, who are in deal to buy Hoboken University Medical Center". Retrieved June 1, 2016.
  28. ^ Erin Duffy (February 19, 2013). "Former Sen. Torricelli buys Trenton landmark Lorenzo's, plans $20M office complex". Retrieved June 1, 2016.
  29. ^ "Political watering hole in Trenton to be razed". Newsworks. February 19, 2013. Archived from the original on 2016-06-24. Retrieved June 1, 2016.
  30. ^ Eric Lach (February 3, 2011). "Ex-Sen. Torricelli: MEK Has Done 'Wrong' In Past But Is Useful Now". TPM. Retrieved June 1, 2016.
  31. ^ Ali Gharib, Eli Clifton (February 26, 2015). "Long March of the Yellow Jackets". The Intercept. Retrieved June 1, 2016.

External linksEdit