WASHINGTON (AP) — A political donor is pushing the federal investigation of Sen. Robert Torricelli's 1996 campaign into personal finance issues with an account of how he tried to subsidize the lawmaker's purchase of a luxury car.

Torricelli, D-N.J., scuttled the deal and bought the Mercedes Benz with his own money after businessman David Chang put several thousand dollars down at a New Jersey dealership, according to lawyers and law enforcement officials familiar with the evidence.

FBI officials are investigating whether Torricelli improperly solicited the car and other gifts from Chang, and agents gathered documents from two dealerships where the senator bought cars in the 1990s, lawyers and officials told The Associated Press.

The issue of gifts — largely prohibited under congressional ethics rules — has emerged as one of several disputes between Torricelli and Chang in an investigation that began with allegations of improper donations.