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Alfonse Marcello D'Amato Edit Profile

Lawyer , lobbyist , politician

Alfonse Marcello D'Amato is an American lawyer and former New York politician. A Republican, he served as United States Senator from New York from 1981 to 1999.


Mr. D'Amato was born on August 1, 1937, in Brooklyn, New York, United States, and raised on Long Island, in the small village of Island Park. He is the son of Antoinette (Ciofarri) and Armand D'Amato, an insurance broker.


He is a graduate of Chaminade High School, Syracuse University, and Syracuse University College of Law. From the latter he received Bachelor of Science degree in 1959 and Juris Doctor in 1961. At Syracuse University, he was a brother at Alpha Chi Rho fraternity.


His political career started with the Nassau County Republican Party, and he held the appointive position of Public Administrator of Nassau County, where he was responsible for managing the assets of county residents who died without wills (1965-1968). Mr. D'Amato served as a receiver of taxes at Town of Hempstead, Long Island, NY, in 1971-1977. From 1977 to 1980 Alfonse D'Amato acted as a presiding supervisor and vice chair at Nassau County board of supervisors.

In 1980 he was elected Republican senator to the U.S. Senate, re-elected in 1986, 1992. Later he became a member of numerous Senate subcommittees including Banking, Appropriations (chair), Caucus on International Narcotics Control (chair, 1987), Senate Anti-Terrorism Caucus (founder and co-chair), Select Committee on Intelligence (senior Republican), and National Republican Senatorial Committee (chair).

Alfonse D'Amato also served as housing and urban affairs commissioner, and on U.S. Commission on Security and Cooperation in Europe (co-chair). He was a member of Helsinki Commission.

Shortly before leaving office, Mr. D'Amato published his book of recollections, "Power, Pasta and Politics." Since retiring from politics, he has emerged as an analyst for Fox News.

Mr. D'Amato is chairman of the Poker Players Alliance (PPA), a nonprofit organization set up to help protect and fight for the rights of poker players in the United States. Part of the PPA's mission is to protect the right of poker players to play online.

Alfonse D'Amato had a brief cameo as himself in the 1997 movie The Devil's Advocate. Mr. D'Amato also made a brief cameo appearance as himself in an episode of Spin City.


  • A Republican, Alfonse D'Amato served as United States Senator from New York from 1981 to 1999. He subsequently founded a lobbying firm, Park Strategies. Since he left office in 1999, no other Republican from New York has served in the U.S. Senate.



Mr. D'Amato drew the nickname Senator Pothole for his delivery of "constituent services", helping citizens with their individual cases. While some New Yorkers meant the nickname as a pejorative, many others saw it as a positive affirmation of his attention to getting things done.

He also holds the record for the second and eighth longest filibusters ever recorded in the United States Senate. He is remembered for his unique and rather comical filibusters. In 1986, in a filibuster against a military bill lasted 23 h 30 min, he was known for reading the District of Columbia phone book. In 1992, Mr. D'Amato filibustered a bill that would have caused the loss of 750 jobs in upstate New York by singing "South of the Border (Down Mexico Way)."

He is also remembered for presenting a poster of a "Taxasaurus Rex", which he then stabbed with an oversized pencil.

Alfonse D'Amato was a member of the President's Commission on Aviation Security and Terrorism (PCAST), which was set up in September 1989 to review and report on aviation security policy in light of the sabotage of Pan Am Flight 103 on December 21, 1988.

Mr. D'Amato was very influential in New York Republican politics, and he was widely considered the "boss" of the state party during his Senate years. For example, he played a leading role in recruiting George Pataki and in securing him the Republican nomination in the gubernatorial race of 1994.

Alfonse D'Amato was known for being fairly conservative, a reflection of then-strongly conservative Nassau County and Long Island. He strongly supported the conservative positions of his party on "law and order" issues such as capital punishment and harsh penalties for drug offenses. On some issues, he agreed with the opposition: in 1993, Mr. D'Amato was one of only three Republicans to vote in favor of allowing gays to serve openly in the U.S. military. In 1996, he was among the minority of Republicans to vote for the Employment Non-Discrimination Act.

In 1998, the Human Rights Campaign endorsed Alfonse D'Amato for re-election over socially liberal Democratic Congressman Chuck Schumer because of those votes. Mr. D'Amato, however, voted for the Defense of Marriage Act in 1996.

According to the New York Times, Mr. D'Amato was quite popular among his peers on Capitol Hill.


  • Lions Club , United States

  • Knights of Columbus , United States

  • Sons of Italy , United States

  • Island Park Volunteer Fire Department , United States


  • Other Interests

    sailing, reading, piano


He married Penelope Ann Collenburg in 1960 (divorced 1995). They have four children: Lisa, Lorraine, Daniel, Christopher. On July 18, 2004 Mr. D'Amato married Katuria Elizabeth Smith, with whom he has one son, Alfonse Marcello D'Amato, born in 2008, and a daughter, Luciana Cioffari D'Amato, born in 2009. Katuria D'Amato filed for divorce on 3 October 2017. It was also reported that both of them had earlier in the year been "kicked off separate flights just nine days apart, allegedly for arguing with the crew".

Armand D'Amato

Antoinette (Ciofarri) D'Amato

Lisa D'Amato - American

Lorraine D'Amato - American

Daniel D'Amato - American

Christopher D'Amato - American

Alfonso Marcello D'Amato - American

Penelope Ann Collenburg

Katuria Elizabeth Smith

Luciana Cioffari D'Amato - American