Torricelli Ex-Senator Now Lobbyist Essay

Should there be additional and more severe limits on how retired politicians can use leftover campaign finances? Yes, I believe there should be severe limits as to how leftover campaign finances are to be used based on the following: (1) to prevent fraudulent acts by deceitful politicians. (2) To build and maintain high ethical standard within the political realm and the politicians. (3) To gain trust of the public.

As a faithful contributor to campaign funds, regardless of the amount, I would want to know that my money is used for the purpose for which I donated it and not for a candidates’ private use. The threat here is such behaviors, like that of Torricelli, though not illegal, violates the trust of the general public and can affect contributors negatively in the future- they will fear that their hard earned money (think of the economic downturn) contributed for a vital cause is siphoned for personal use and enrichment. Two months after quitting the race, Torricelli founded a lobbying practice” (Lawrence & Weber, 2011, pg 217) The leftover campaign funds can be used in several ways: In a situation where a candidate so chooses to drop out of the campaign before the end of an election, first, all expenses incurred during that period of time must be paid in full. The funds left thereafter should be shared amongst the other candidates from the same party. The purpose for raising the fund is to enable the candidate (the party) to be financially capable to run and be elected or reelected into office.

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In the situation where the candidate did not drop out but did not win the election, as above, all expenses should be paid off and then the leftover funds can be donated to charity. Former officials are prohibited from using left over campaign funds for personal use. Though the decision is left to the former officials (rules apply) as to how to disburse the leftover funds, in the case of Torricelli, he used his funds in ways that were unethical and conflicting in interest.

The campaign finance watched dogs however said Torricelli was not in violation of any leftover campaign funds rule. Torricelli, in 2002, used the leftover funds from his campaign to influence issues linked to his business. But, “In 2002 CSC Holding, operator of Cablevision, made $162,000 contribution to Torricelli’s senatorial campaign and later Torricelli took on Cablevision as a client and attempted to lobby a New Jersey State Senate to change a wording of a bill in a way that would favor Cablevision.

He used $5,000 from his Senate campaign fund to support a slate of municipal candidates in New Jersey” (pg 217) It is a well thought out plan by Torricelli to run for reelection, raise the funds (for his personal agenda) then quit because he had found legal loopholes to spend the money.

For example, right after he had the meeting with the Governor Rod Blagojevich and Leonard Barack, head of Barrack, Rodos & Bacine, a law firm hired by Torricelli as a consultant, (pg 217), just a few days later Torricelli gave $10,000 contribution to Blagojevich’s reelection campaign, and shortly after that, the firm was placed on Illinois’ State teachers retirement systems list of preferred outside attorneys.

Again Torricelli contributed more than 40,000 to Nevada Democratic Party Organization and candidates who were linked to Harry Reid, and shortly after the political gift, Torricelli reached out to Reid on behalf of one of his clients and set up a meeting between them. (pg 217). The weakness in this situation is how Torricelli compromised all the ethical rules and became an ethical egoist. Should those that received political gifts from Torricelli refused his contributions? The fact remains that it takes two to tangle.

They should have refused the gift because from all indications from the flow of the stories, there was an offer of a negotiation from Torricelli. Therefore refusing his gift will keep them free from reciprocating the favor offered. But they accepted and negotiations were made and fulfilled. My thoughts on this, both Torricelli and those that he made contributions to spoke a language that they very well understood. They knew under such surrounding circumstance (that which he gave them the money) they should not receive it but they were as deceitful as he was and they collected it anyways.

On the other hand, it is permissible by the federal government for retired officials to give left over funds to candidates. The strength is in the unity of all Americans coming together for a cause we believe in and contributing $2. 9 million for a reelection campaign. This is just for one candidate. I recommend the involvement of the public (contributors) on how leftover funds are to be spent; since they contributed they should participate in decision making when need be. The involvement will build a stronger relationship between politicians and the constituents, which will keep the constituents abreast on what is going on and the politician onscious of their behaviors. I recommend tighter accountability rules, whereby the leftover funds cannot be disbursed single handedly by the former official but according to agreed upon ways decided by a team that is made up of members from the same party. Thus, legal loopholes such as the ones found by Torricelli will be tightened. Work cited, Lawrence, A. , Weber, J. (2010). Business and Society Stakeholders, Ethics, Public Policy (13th Ed. ). New York: McGraw-Hill Irwin.


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