When he was last running for the United States Senate from New Jersey in 2002, Robert G. Torricelli collected donations from thousands of people who apparently wanted to see him re-elected. They might be surprised to see how he spent a portion of their money.
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Noah Addis/The Star-Ledger
Robert G. Torricelli, the former senator from New Jersey, became a lobbyist after quitting the 2002 Senate race.
Out of Office but Flush With Cash
Robert G. Torricelli
Mr. Torricelli, a Democrat who was one of the Senate’s most flamboyant personalities and prodigious fund-raisers, abruptly quit the 2002 race amid allegations of ethical misconduct and became a lobbyist. Since then, he has given $4,000 from his campaign fund to Puerto Rico’s nonvoting member of Congress, $10,000 to Gov. Rod R. Blagojevich of Illinois and more than $40,000 to Nevada Democratic Party organizations and candidates linked to the Senate majority leader, Harry Reid.
All of those politicians had one thing in common: influence over Mr. Torricelli’s, or his clients’, business interests.
In early 2006, for instance, Mr. Torricelli contributed $10,000 from his Senate account to the mayor of Trenton and his slate of City Council candidates, just as city agencies were reviewing an ultimately successful proposal by the former senator to develop retail and office space in the city.
There is no evidence that Mr. Torricelli, who declined to be interviewed for this article, violated federal rules, which allow retired officials to give leftover campaign funds to charities, candidates and political parties. Sean Jackson, Mr. Torricelli’s campaign treasurer and a partner in his lobbying firm, said in an interview that any suggestion that the contributions were tied to his business interests was “ridiculous.” He said that Mr. Torricelli contributed to people he knew or with whom he shared policy goals.
“Bob has supported people who he...