Jack Quinn, Lobbyist and White House Counsel for Clinton, Dies at 74

Jack Quinn, a Washington insider who served as White House counsel during the Clinton administration, helped found a bipartisan lobbying firm and became embroiled in scandal after securing a last-minute presidential pardon for the fugitive financier Marc Rich, died on May 8 at his home in Washington, D.C. He was 74.

His wife, Susanna Quinn, said the cause was complications from a double-lung transplant in 2019.

A popular and affable fixture on the Washington social circuit, Mr. Quinn was shunned in 2001 after helping Mr. Rich, a billionaire whose ex-wife had made large donations to Democrats, secure a pardon during President Bill Clinton’s last hours in office. One of the largest donations was for Mr. Clinton’s presidential library fund.

Mr. Rich, who died in 2013, was indicted on tax evasion charges in 1983 but moved to Switzerland before authorities could arrest him. A congressional investigation ensued, and Mr. Rich became a political punching bag for cable news programs. Mr. Clinton later called the pardon “terrible politics.”

“The Rich aftermath was brutal,” Mark Leibovich, a former New York Times political reporter, wrote in “This Town,” (2013) a book about the Beltway’s gilded culture. “Quinn wondered if people were looking at him when he walked into restaurants, what they were saying. Friends abandoned him.”

Mr. Quinn, a Democrat, began his long career in Washington during his sophomore year at Georgetown University, working full time as an aide to Senator George McGovern of South Dakota and later for Senator Floyd K. Haskell of Colorado.

In 1976, at age 26, he served as campaign manager for Representative Mo Udall of Arizona when he unsuccessfully ran for president. (He lost the Democratic nomination to Jimmy Carter.) Mr. Quinn was a lobbyist at the D.C. firm Arnold & Porter for several years before returning to politics as counsel and communications director to Senator Al Gore during his presidential campaign in 1988.

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