Senate panel faults Torricelli

| 8/1/2002

Sen. Robert Torricelli (D-NJ) was``severely admonished'' by the Senate Ethics Committee July 30 for his relationship with a former friend and campaign contributor, David Chang, AP reports.

Chang said Torricelli demanded donations and expensive gifts in exchange for assisting him in business ventures in North and South Korea. The committee faulted Torricelli on six counts, most of them related to the gifts.

The allegations have become an issue in the campaign of Republican Douglas Forrester, who hopes to oust Torricelli this fall. For Republicans, an upset could be the key to regaining control of the Senate.

Torricelli recently urged President Bush and Transportation Secretary Norman Mineta to provide Amtrak with a $200 million loan guarantee. New Jersey Transit and the Long Island Rail Road trains would have been unable to operate because they run on Amtrak-owned tracks. The day before the scheduled Amtrak shutdown, Secretary Mineta announced a $100 million loan guarantee and a request for an additional $100 million from Congress.