Robert Guy Torricelli (born August 27, 1951), nicknamed "the Torch," is an American politician from New Jersey. Torricelli, a Democrat, served 14 years in the U.S. House of Representatives before being elected to the U.S. Senate. He served a single term in the Senate and decided not to run for reelection after being implicated in a bribery and campaign finance scandal involving David Chang, an imprisoned Chinese businessman.
Torricelli attended Rutgers University both for undergraduate and law school, receiving his Bachelor of Arts degree in 1974 and his law degree in 1977. He was admitted to the New Jersey bar in 1978 and later attended Harvard University, earning a master's degree in public administration in 1980.
Torricelli was an assistant to the Governor Brendan Byrne from 1975 to 1977. He served in the U.S. House of Representatives from 1983 to 1996 and as a U.S. Senator from 1997 to 2003. In 2000 he headed the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee, presiding over one of their most successful years in some time (they picked up 5 seats).
In the middle of an increasingly competitive race against Republican Doug Forrester, Torricelli decided not to run for reelection after being implicated in a bribery scandal with a businessman connected to China named David Chang. Torricelli stated that despite his leaving public office in a different way than he planned, he is proud of his service. Late in the election season in 2002, the New Jersey Supreme Court allowed the Democratic Party to replace Torricelli's name on the ballot with that of former U.S. Sen. Frank Lautenberg.
In 2003 Toricelli raised money for Democratic Presidential candidate John Kerry and also donated money to the 527 group Americans for Jobs, Healthcare and Progressive Values which ran extremely controversial negative ads juxtaposing candidate Howard Dean with Osama bin Laden.