The Rich couple is back in the news. If you recall, President Bill Clinton pardoned billionaire trader Marc Rich in one of the most unwarranted presidential acts under the pardon power — a pardon rightfully denounced as little more than a payback for a wealthy supporter by Clinton. Now, Rich’s wife, Denise, has given up her U.S. citizenship — reportedly to avoid taxes. Clinton should be doubly ashamed of his association and assistance to this couple.
Marc Rich became a fugitive in 1983 — fleeing charges of tax evasion, fraud, racketeering and illegal trading of oil with Iran. Clinton however felt that of all of the people charged in the United States, the billionaire fugitive warranted a presidential pardon in 2001.
Rich, 68, is a Grammy-nominated songwriter and socialite and divorced Marc Rich in 1996. Her application was filed under her maiden name Denise Eisenberg. Born in Massachusetts, she will now rely on her Austrian citizenship through her deceased father.
For my part, these recent denials of citizenship should focus greater attention at the ever-expanding number of “dual citizens” in the United States — a status that has never been fully debated in this country. We have never discussed whether citizens should be able to claim two or more home nations. Rich shows that such status allows for people to forum shop between nations. Obviously what was holding her to the United States was pure convenience — much like her husband who did not hesitate to flee when the laws were applied to him like an ordinary person — at least until Bill Clinton rescued him on his final day in office. That does not mean that dual citizenship is fundamentally wrong but it does suggest the need for some national discussion of the trend.