|United States Senator|
from New Jersey
January 3, 1997 - January 3, 2003
|Member of the U.S. House of Representatives|
from New Jersey's 9th district
January 3, 1983 - January 3, 1997
Robert Guy Torricelli
August 27, 1951
Paterson, New Jersey, U.S.
|Spouse(s)||Susan Holloway (divorced)|
|Education||Rutgers University, New Brunswick (BA)|
Rutgers University, Newark (JD)
Harvard University (MPA)
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.
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.
Torricelli was born in Paterson, New Jersey, the son of Betty (Lotz), a school librarian, and Salvatore Torricelli, a lawyer. 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. While at Rutgers, he was elected class president his junior and senior year.
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, and managed the Carter-Mondale campaign in the Illinois primary. At the 1980 Democratic National Convention, he served as the director of the Rules Committee.
In 1982, Torricelli ran for U.S. Congress, defeating incumbent Republican Harold Hollenbeck. Torricelli served in the U.S. House of Representatives from 1983 until 1997 representing New Jersey's 9th congressional district.
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. He sponsored the Cuban Democracy Act of 1992 which prohibits U.S. trade with Cuba. He was chairman of the House subcommittee on the Western Hemisphere.
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. It was later found that six donors had made illegal contributions to Torricelli's campaign. In 2000, he headed the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee which regained the Democratic majority in the Senate. Torricelli was responsible for recruiting Senate candidates including Hillary Clinton.
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. The investigation was later dropped when attorney Mary Jo White issued a letter of clearance.
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. 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. 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.
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.
Torricelli founded business and government affairs consulting firm Rosemont Associates. He is a partner in real estate firm Woodrose Properties, which is invested in over 50 multi family or commercial properties in 10 states. Torricelli represents the Iranian opposition group, the MEK.
|U.S. House of Representatives|
| Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from New Jersey's 9th congressional district
|Party political offices|
| Democratic nominee for U.S. Senator from New Jersey
1996, 2002 (Withdrew)
| Chair of the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee
| U.S. Senator (Class 2) from New Jersey
Served alongside: Frank Lautenberg, Jon Corzine