Tag Archives: Torricelli

FBI Investigates The Torch

In August I noted how Robert Torricelli, disgraced former US Senator from New Jersey, had been spending leftover campaign funds.  I shared my opinion on the matter:

All I know is that Torricelli should not be able to control this money now.

Today we read where some more of Torricelli‘s campaign funds went.

The FBI is probing accusations that former U.S. Sen. Robert Torricelli and his associates in a medical services business benefited from the lobbying efforts of a Puerto Rican official who received campaign contributions from them, a spokesman said today.

Business as usual in New Jersey.  Torricelli was run out of office because of scandal and he keeps entangling himself in it.

New Jersey is corrupt, plain and simple.  And while the majority of the corruption appears to fall to Democrats, that is only because there are more of them in the Garden State.

The Torch is endemic of what is wrong in politics in New Jersey.

There Is Something Seriously Wrong Here

Former New Jersey Senator Robert Torricelli quit his 2002 re-election campaign as he was being flogged about his ethics. Yet, he still had more than a million dollars left in his campaign account.

Now five years later, it is found that Torricelli has been doling out this money to others.

Former Democratic U.S. Sen. Robert Torricelli has spent almost $1 million from his campaign account since leaving Congress, giving money to people with influence over his or his clients’ business interests

How can this be legal?

Torricelli, who quite the 2002 Senate campaign amid ethical misconduct allegations, contributed $10,000 to the mayor of Trenton and his City Council candidates.

The donation was made as city agencies were reviewing an ultimately approved proposal by Torricelli to develop retail and office space in the city.

I didn’t think individuals were permitted to contribute that amount of money. I am certain someone with more knowledge of election laws will correct me.

The report also found Torricelli gave more than $40,000 to Nevada Democratic Party organizations and candidates linked to Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid.

Torricelli then began reaching out to Reid for the government of Taiwan, a client that had retained him for $15,000 a month. Torricelli contacted Reid to discuss Taiwan’s opposition to a new Chinese law that authorized force if Taiwan declared independence.

I know contributions to political parties are a way to get around the limits on the giving to one specific candidate.

All this money is money that you and I do not have. Why does Torricelli have it? The money was presumably contributed by folks who wanted Torricelli re-elected to the Senate five years ago. Why does he get to distribute it (for personal gain) for purposes of not running for Senate?

There is something seriously wrong here.

What should happen to the money? I am not quite certain. Perhaps it should be absorbed to help fund public elections. At least it would save the tax payers a couple bucks. All I know is that Torricelli should not be able to control this money now.

The Torch Still Doesn’t Get It

When Bob Torricelli makes public comments about ethics, one needs to immediately dismiss them. The former New Jersey senator has no credibility on the topic. None.

Yet, that didn’t stop the Star~Ledger from providing the soap box for the disgraced Torricelli to spout his views about how former New Jersey Attorney General, Zulima “I Can’t Drive 55” Farber, was treated.

She understands this was an indiscretion. But she didn’t profit by it, she didn’t betray the public trust, and it should be seen in the balance of the good work she’s done in her life.

Obviously, The Torch didn’t read Special prosecutor Richard J. Williams’ report on the matter.

To show just how out of touch Torricelli actually is with the public, he stated:

I don’t belong in public life any more because I don’t understand the public.

I am pretty certain the admonishment the Senate’s Ethics Committee leveled against him during a campaign for accepting gifts from donors is the real reason why he is no longer in public life.

Remember, Torricelli has no credibility.

Torricelli Sued

Why would a company want a former senator who was investigated for ethics violations on its board? Apparently because he is the right man for the job.

What job?

Robert Torricelli, former senator of New Jersey who quit his re-election bid less than two months prior to the election in 2002, sits on the board of CareOne. According to a lawsuit filed by CareOne’s president and CEO Daniel Straus’s administrative assistant, Torricelli was hired to create a hostile workplace.

In an e-mail that Straus sent, according to the lawsuit:

“Straus admitted that he had directed defendant Torricelli to snoop around into the plaintiff’s relationship,” the lawsuit says. “With the aiding and abetting of defendant Torricelli, (Straus) created a hostile work environment” that was “sexually and gender based.”

Apparently, Strauss wanted to get rid of his administrative assistant and sought Torricelli’s help. Torricelli is being sued for his role in this.

I do not know the veracity of this claim, but it goes to show that when one associates with unethical people, things happen.

Why would anyone hire Torricelli to do anything? What positive traits can he bring an employer? I wonder the same about former governor Jim McGreevey.

Being a Good Citizen

This was my sixth speech in the Competent Toastmaster series. It was originally given in 2002.

In the early 1980s, Joe Piscopo built his career at the expense of New Jersey with his Saturday Night Live skit “I’m from Joisey. Are you from Joisey? What exit?”.

The armpit of America was the battle cry across the land.

The Sopranos, a fictional cable television show, has again given New Jersey a sour taste in others’ minds. We apparently are nothing more than a bunch of mobsters here.

Yet, it is hard to fault those who pick upon us when we elect folks who do so little for us and so much to reinforce the stereotypes.

Robert Torricelli, now the senior senator from the Garden State, was severely admonished for breaking Senate ethics rules. He was found to have accepted gifts from a man who is currently in jail for funneling money illegally to Totricelli’s campaign in 1996. Totricelli stated before the probe on 16 January 1999, “I think there is a concern about the dignity of the Senate.”

Indeed, Senator, there is. The dignity of the Senate and our fair state is at stake. This is not a late-night comedy skit or concern over a television show. This is real life. Torricelli’s problems reflect upon all of us.

There was a time when the senator was on all the Sunday morning talk shows and at the Capitol’s microphones sounding off about impeachment. We should have known then.

The admonishment from his peers is telling. It says plenty that our senator cannot keep the appearance of impropriety from splashing the front pages. Torricelli has no reasonable explanation for the Rolex, the suits, and the quick money made on that IPO at his buddy’s bank. He has brought shame upon us.

James Madison wrote,

“It is a misfortune incident to republican government . . . that those who administer it may forget their obligations to their constituents, and prove unfaithful to their important trust.”

The obligation, Sen. Torricelli, is to represent New Jersey and her citizens in a manner that commands trust. Federal investigations do nothing to instill trust.

Newsweek detailed a senator who pales in Madison’s description: tirades against other senators, jet-setting with the rich and famous, politics to enact personal revenge, and disturbingly similar politics from his college days.

In a time when our young are so in need of men and women to respect, it is unfortunate that New Jersey elected a man who is derelict in his responsibility.

The senator is now running for re-election. Regardless of one’s politics, Torricelli has done nothing to represent New Jersey well. He does not deserve to represent New Jerseyans for another six years.

Let us not forget our obligation to elect a senator who will make New Jersey proud. James Madison has set the bar for elected officials. Robert Torricelli does not measure up.

Senator Torricelli

Originally published in The Daily Journal on 24 May 2001.

In the early 1980s, Joe Piscopo built his career at the expense of New Jersey (“I’m from Joisey. Are you from Joisey? What exit?“).

The armpit of America was the battle cry across the land.

In recent weeks, The Sopranos, a fictional cable television show, has again given New Jersey a sour taste in others’ minds. We apparently are nothing more than a bunch of mobsters here.

Yet, it is hard to fault those who pick upon us when we elect folks who do so little for us and so much to reinforce the stereotypes.

Robert Torricelli, now the senior senator from the Garden State, is the focus of a federal investigation that twice in the past weeks barnstormed county political offices to seize memoranda, files, and other evidence of possible wrongdoing from his 1996 campaign.

“I think there is a concern about the dignity of the Senate,” stated Torricelli, 16 January 1999.

Indeed. The dignity of the Senate and our fair state is at stake. This is not a late-night comedy skit or concern over a television show. This is real life. Torricelli’s problems reflect upon all of us.

There was a time when the senator was on all the Sunday morning talk shows and at the Capitol’s microphones sounding off about impeachment. We should have known.

An investigation does not make a man guilty. It does, however, say plenty that our senator cannot keep the appearance of impropriety from splashing the front pages. Perhaps there is a reasonable explanation for the Rolex, the suits, and the quick money made on that IPO at his buddy’s bank. Nevertheless, he has brought shame upon us.

James Madison wrote, “It is a misfortune incident to republican government . . . that those who administer it may forget their obligations to their constituents, and prove unfaithful to their important trust.”

The obligation, Sen. Torricelli, is to represent New Jersey and her citizens in a manner that commands trust. Federal investigations do nothing to instill trust.

Newsweek this week details a senator who pales in Madison’s description: tirades against other senators, jet-setting with the rich and famous, politics to enact personal revenge, and disturbingly similar politics from his college days (http://www.msnbc.com/news/575933.asp) The senator now refuses public appearances to duck the storm.

In a time when our young are so in need of men and women to respect, it is unfortunate that New Jersey elected a man who is derelict in his responsibility.

Let us not forget our obligation in 2002 to elect a senator who will make New Jersey proud.