Robert Torricelli

Last updated
Robert Torricelli
Robert Torricelli.jpg
United States Senator
from New Jersey
In office
January 3, 1997 January 3, 2003
Preceded by Bill Bradley
Succeeded by Frank Lautenberg
Member of the U.S.HouseofRepresentatives
from New Jersey's 9th district
In office
January 3, 1983 January 3, 1997
Preceded by Harold Hollenbeck
Succeeded by Steve Rothman
Personal details
Robert Guy Torricelli

(1951-08-27) August 27, 1951 (age 69)
Paterson, New Jersey, U.S.
Political party Democratic
Spouse(s)Susan Holloway (divorced)
Education Rutgers University, New Brunswick (BA)
Rutgers University, Newark (JD)
Harvard University (MPA)
Signature Robert Torricelli signature.gif

Robert Guy "The Torch" Torricelli [1] (born August 27, 1951), is an American attorney and former politician. A Democrat, Torricelli served as a member of the U.S. House of Representatives from New Jersey's 9th district from 1983 to 1997 and as a United States senator from New Jersey from 1997 to 2003.


He is notable for his tenure as chair of the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee. In September 2002, Torricelli ended his Senate re-election campaign after having been formally admonished by the U.S. Senate in connection with a campaign finance scandal. He later founded Rosemont Associates, a consulting group.

Early life and education

Torricelli was born in Paterson, New Jersey, the son of Betty (Lotz), a school librarian, and Salvatore Torricelli, a lawyer. [2] 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 J.D. 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. [3]


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, [2] and managed the Carter-Mondale campaign in the Illinois primary. [4] At the 1980 Democratic National Convention, he served as the director of the Rules Committee. [5]

U.S. House of Representatives

In 1982, Torricelli ran for U.S. Congress, defeating incumbent Republican Harold Hollenbeck. [6] Torricelli served in the U.S. House of Representatives from 1983 until 1997 representing New Jersey's 9th congressional district. [7]

Toricelli was a resident of New Milford, New Jersey during his first term in Congress. [8] [9]

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. [10] He sponsored the Cuban Democracy Act of 1992 which prohibits U.S. trade with Cuba. [4] [11] He was chairman of the House subcommittee on the Western Hemisphere. [12]


Torricelli 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. [7] It was later found that six donors had made illegal contributions to Torricelli's campaign. [13] In 2000, he headed the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee [7] which regained the Democratic majority in the Senate. [14] Torricelli was responsible for recruiting Senate candidates including Hillary Clinton. [15]

A federal criminal investigation into Torricelli was dropped in early 2002. [16] [17] In the summer of 2002, however, Torricelli received a formal letter of admonishment from the U.S. Senate Select Committee on Ethics following an investigation into his alleged receipt of improper gifts from campaign donor David Chang. Chang had pleaded guilty to violating federal election laws. [18] [19] [20] Torricelli apologized to voters for his behavior and delivered a speech in which he promised to take "'full personal responsibility'" for his actions. On September 30, 2002, Torricelli ended his 2002 re-election campaign after Republicans "successfully made the incumbent's ethics troubles -- stemming from illegal 1996 campaign donations and questionable gifts -- a campaign issue..." [18] 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, the Finance Committee, and the Rules Committee. [25]

Post-congressional career

In 2003, Torricelli was appointed by the U.S. Federal District Court as 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] [28] [29] He is a partner in real estate firm Woodrose Properties, which is invested in over 50 multi family or commercial properties in 10 states. [30] [31] Torricelli has represented the Iranian opposition group, the MEK. [32] [33]

Personal life

Torricelli was married to Susan Holloway [4] and has dated Bianca Jagger. [7]


See also

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  1. Alfaro, Alyana (November 16, 2017). "Torricelli Will Not Primary Menendez in 2018". The Observer. Retrieved December 18, 2019.
  2. 1 2 Jennifer Preston (November 6, 1996). "Focused and Passionate Campaigner". The New York Times. Retrieved June 1, 2016.
  3. "Bob Torricelli". Washington Post. Retrieved June 1, 2016.
  4. 1 2 3 BRETT PULLEY (October 31, 1996). "Torricelli's Wide-Reaching Goals Inspire and Enrage". New York Times. Retrieved 3 September 2012.
  5. Mary Thronton (July 3, 1980). "Battle Over Convention Rules Begins". The Dispatch. Retrieved June 1, 2016.
  6. Samuel G. Freedman (October 30, 1982). "A 3-Term Congressman Woos New Constituency". The New York Times. Retrieved June 1, 2016.
  7. 1 2 3 4 Michael Gross. "Senator Robert Torricelli: Suburban Boy Patriot, Bianca Jagger Boyfriend, Flaming Partisan". Michael Gross. Retrieved June 1, 2016.
  8. 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."
  9. Barone, Michael; and Ujifusa, Grant. The Almanac of American Politics 1988', p. 755. National Journal , 1987.
  10. "U.S. Congress - Congressional Record". Congressional Record: H424. January 12, 1991.
  11. "Timeline". Frontline. Retrieved June 1, 2016.
  12. Morris Morley, Chris McGillion (September 16, 2002). Unfinished Business: American and Cuba After the Cold War. 1989-2001. Cambridge University Press.
  13. Kocieniewski, David (6 January 2001). "As Bush Rises, Torricelli Cools Partisan Fire". New York Times. Retrieved 8 October 2014.
  14. "Tribute to Departing Senators". November 20, 2002. Retrieved June 1, 2016.
  15. Hillary Clinton (2003). Living History. Simon Schuster. pp. 495–496.
  16. David Kocieniewski, Tim Golden (January 4, 2002). "Charges Ruled Out As U.S. Concludes Torricelli Inquiry". The New York Times. Retrieved June 1, 2016.
  17. "N.J. Senator Torricelli cleared in federal probe". CNN. January 3, 2002. Retrieved June 1, 2016.
  18. 1 2 " - Torricelli drops out of N.J. race - Sep. 30, 2002".
  19. Letter of Admonishment
  20. John Harwood, Shailagh Murray (September 30, 2002). "Torricelli Throws in Towel In New Jersey Senate Race". The Wall Street Journal. 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. Hernandez, Raymond; Chen, David W. (24 August 2007). "NOW A LOBBYIST, EX-SENATOR USES CAMPAIGN MONEY". The New York Times.
  29. Mary Ann Akers; Paul Kane (May 1, 2008). "A Politician's Favorite Charity Is..." Washington Post. Retrieved December 18, 2016.
  30. Erin Duffy (February 19, 2013). "Former Sen. Torricelli buys Trenton landmark Lorenzo's, plans $20M office complex". Retrieved June 1, 2016.
  31. "Political watering hole in Trenton to be razed". Newsworks. February 19, 2013. Archived from the original on 2016-06-24. Retrieved June 1, 2016.
  32. Eric Lach (February 3, 2011). "Ex-Sen. Torricelli: MEK Has Done 'Wrong' In Past But Is Useful Now". TPM. Retrieved June 1, 2016.
  33. Ali Gharib, Eli Clifton (February 26, 2015). "Long March of the Yellow Jackets". The Intercept. Retrieved June 1, 2016.
U.S. House of Representatives
Preceded by
Harold Hollenbeck
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from New Jersey's 9th congressional district

Succeeded by
Steve Rothman
Party political offices
Preceded by
Bill Bradley
Democratic nominee for U.S. Senator from New Jersey
(Class 2)

1996, 2002 (Withdrew)
Succeeded by
Frank Lautenberg
Preceded by
Bob Kerrey
Chair of the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee
Succeeded by
Patty Murray
U.S. Senate
Preceded by
Bill Bradley
U.S. Senator (Class 2) from New Jersey
Served alongside: Frank Lautenberg, Jon Corzine
Succeeded by
Frank Lautenberg