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.

He was chief of staff to Mr. Gore when he was vice president, and in 1995 Mr. Clinton appointed Mr. Quinn as White House counsel, the fourth lawyer to hold the position during a presidency beset by scandals.

Mr. Quinn tangled with Congress over investigations into alleged mismanagement of the White House Travel Office as well as Whitewater, a failed real estate investment deal involving Mr. Clinton and his wife, Hillary Rodham Clinton. He left the White House in 1997 and returned to Arnold & Porter.

A couple of years later, Mr. Quinn was in the green room of a Fox News studio, waiting to appear as a talking head when he met the Republican lobbyist Ed Gillespie. They became friends and in 2000 founded Quinn Gillespie & Associates, one of the first bipartisan lobbying firms.

They sold the firm in 2004 “for a sum that eventually reached $40 million,” Mr. Leibovich wrote. By then, he added, few people remembered “Marc Rich, let alone who his attorney was, or what Jack Quinn was even in the barrel for.”

In 2013, Mr. Quinn became co-counsel for family members of victims of the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks who were trying to sue Saudi Arabia to hold it accountable for its alleged involvement. He was instrumental, colleagues and lawmakers said, in the passage of legislation allowing victims of terrorism to sue foreign governments.

“As affable as he was adroit, Jack Quinn was a relentless and effective advocate in securing some measure of truth and justice for the victims of the 9/11 terror attack,” Chuck Schumer, the Senate majority leader, said in a statement.

John Michael Quinn was born on Aug. 16, 1949, in Brooklyn and household in Glen Head on Long Island. His father, William Quinn, was a manager of a ConEd power plant, while his mother, Mary (Wagner) Quinn, managed the household.

He attended Xavier High School, a Jesuit school in Manhattan. At Georgetown, he majored in government, graduating in 1971, and he received his law degree from the school in 1975.

Mr. Quinn was married three times. His marriages to Burdett Rooney in 1975 and to Diane O’Brien in 1986 ended in divorce.

In 2006, he married Susanna Monroney, the granddaughter of Senator Almer Stillwell Monroney of Oklahoma, who died in 1980.

In addition to his wife, he is survived by a brother, Kevin Quinn; two children from his first marriage, Megan and Jonathan Quinn; two children from his second marriage, Caitlin Slaviero and Brendan Quinn; two children from his marriage to Mrs. Quinn, Jocelyn and Storm Quinn; two other daughters Kathleen Quinn and Jessica Del Pizzo; and 12 grandchildren.

Mr. Quinn was a frequent commentator on cable news shows, and despite his profession, was also known for his own jabs at the life of lobbyists. In 2007, Politico asked Washington insiders what summer meant to them.

“Summer in D.C. is great,” Mr. Quinn said, noting that one could ride in a convertible with the top down — without being solicited for fund-raisers.

He added: “Forget all the heat jokes about D.C. The hot air index is actually down when people like me go on vacation.”

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