Prominent Washington lobbyist Thomas Boggs Jr. dies at 73

Reuters News
Posted: Sep 15, 2014 5:02 PM

By Casey Sullivan

(Reuters) - Thomas Hale Boggs Jr., who was a pioneer in melding the practice of law and lobbying and led the prominent Washington lobbying shop Patton Boggs for many years, died on Monday at age 73, his family said.

Boggs, an influential figure in the U.S. capital for decades, died of an apparent heart attack at his home in Chevy Chase, Maryland, outside Washington, according to his daughter Elizabeth Boggs Davidsen.

He sat at the center of Washington's business, legal and political circles for decades representing U.S. presidential campaigns, major corporations and foreign governments in their interests on Capitol Hill.

Boggs was the son of former Louisiana congressman Thomas Hale Boggs, who served as U.S. House of Representatives Majority Leader, and former Representative Lindy Boggs, who was elected to her husband's House seat after he died in a 1972 plane crash.

"Tommy was a larger than life personality in the nation’s Capitol," Democratic Senator Mark Begich of Alaska, whose father died in the same plane crash that killed Boggs' father, said in a statement.

Boggs served as chairman of the executive committee of the 52-year-old law and lobbying firm Patton Boggs and oversaw its May acquisition by the larger general practice law firm Squire Sanders, which formed the 1,500-lawyer global firm Squire Patton Boggs. Boggs had remained with the merged firm.

"I think he worked very hard and ultimately was successful in preserving as much as he could of the independence and legacy of the firm, even though there was pressure to merge," said John Jonas, a healthcare lobbyist who served on the Patton Boggs executive committee until earlier this year.

In an achievement that some say launched his career, Boggs helped secure congressional approval of the $1.5 billion federal bailout of Chrysler Corporation in 1979. In recent years, Boggs advised clients including

"His biggest accomplishment was growing Patton Boggs into one of the premiere lobbying firms in the world," said Mark Cowan, a lawyer at Cowan Strategies who worked closely with Boggs when he was a Patton Boggs partner.

Patton Boggs, which wielded influence in the corridors of Washington and which was the No. 1 firm in terms of lobbying revenue for more than a decade, was founded in 1962. Boggs joined in 1966.

Boggs, whose sister is journalist Cokie Roberts, is survived by his wife Barbara, three children and eight grandchildren, according to his daughter.

(Editing by Will Dunham)