Colleagues Remember Tax “Expert’s Expert” as Tenacious, Witty, Eloquent, and Kind
WASHINGTON, D.C. – The Financial Accountability and Corporate Transparency (FACT) Coalition today mourns the loss of its executive director, Rebecca Wilkins, who passed away Sunday, February 14th, following a protracted battle with cancer.
Ms. Wilkins joined the FACT Coalition as its ED in January 2015 after six years as Senior Counsel for Federal Tax Policy at Citizens for Tax Justice (CTJ)—where she was heavily involved in the founding of the FACT Coalition in 2011. At CTJ, she focused on all aspects of federal tax policy including corporate, individual, trust and estate, and international taxation. Prior to CTJ, she spent more than 20 years as a practicing CPA specializing in tax.
“Rebecca will be deeply missed,” said Clark Gascoigne, Interim Director of the FACT Coalition. “She has been a force in the movement for tax justice and financial transparency for many years. I had the pleasure of knowing her since 2009, when she joined CTJ and I joined Global Financial Integrity—another founding member of FACT. Rebecca was an expert’s expert. When the tax wonks had questions about tax policy, they went to her. And, yet, she also had the rare ability to distill technical tax issues into language that was accessible to the general public. Her knowledge and abilities were only matched by her kindness and humility. She was an amazing friend and an outstanding mentor. We mourn her loss, and we will honor her memory by carrying forward the tax justice and financial transparency causes to which she dedicated her life.”
“We were all very fortunate to have had the privilege to work with and learn from Rebecca,” commented Heather Lowe, Legal Counsel & Director of Government Affairs at Global Financial Integrity. “Her passion for and deep understanding of tax justice issues made her an amazing teacher and leader, and we have all benefited so much from that. Most of all, however, we will miss the grace, spirit, and humor that she brought with her every day.”
“Rebecca’s tenacity, intellect and pleasantness made her a real force for change in the tax policy world.” said Richard Phillips, a Senior Policy Analyst at Citizens for Tax Justice. “Rebecca will be sorely missed, but her work will continue to be an indispensable part of everything that we do in the fight for tax justice going forward.”
“Rebecca Wilkins was a powerful advocate and a dear friend,” remarked Eric LeCompte, Executive Director of Jubilee USA Network. “Rebecca’s light and inspiration won’t be extinguished. Wherever we stand-up for fairness and transparency, Rebecca still stands there with us.”
“It was an honor to work closely with Rebecca in the fight for financial transparency and justice,” said Stefanie Ostfeld, Acting Head of the U.S. Office at Global Witness. “She had the impressive ability to make complex topics accessible and to inspire others to join the movement. Her friendship and her leadership will be greatly missed.”
“Rebecca invited others into the tax debate, by always making taxes fun, even sexy,” added Scott Klinger, Director of Revenue and Spending Policies at the Center for Effective Government. “She’d begin her presentations with a joke and then make clear that tax dodging was no laughing matter. Her audiences left understanding something they thought they never could. More importantly they left angry and inspired to act. The world has lost a rare spirit that combined the technical expertise of a fine accountant and tax attorney, with the organizer’s instinct of how to move people toward greater justice.”
“Rebecca Wilkins was a warrior for the public interest who went toe-to-toe with defenders of corporate tax loopholes with a smile on her face,” said Dan Smith, Democracy Campaign Director for U.S. PIRG. “As a tax expert, she could navigate every nook and cranny of the tax code. But importantly, she also had an amazing ability to talk about obscure tax policy in a way that everyday Americans could understand. She was an inspiring leader, and it was an honor to work side-by-side with her. She was also a great friend, who will be sorely missed.”
In lieu of flowers, Ms. Wilkins’ family has requested that donations be directed to the Breast Cancer Research Foundation. A fundraising page has been established in her memory at https://give.BCRFcure.org/RebeccaWilkins.
Notes to Editors:
- Read an HTML version of this release on our website.
- Read Ms. Wilkins’ bio on the FACT Coalition website and download an image of her.
- Read Ms. Wilkins’ obituary, published February 17, 2016, in The Oklahoman
- Read a blog mourning Ms. Wilkins from Citizens for Tax Justice, her former employer.
- Read a tribute to Rebecca Wilkins from our global partners in London with the Tax Justice Network.
- The FACT Coalition unites over 100 leading small business, faith-based, human rights, investor, anti-corruption, public-interest, government-watchdog, labor, and global development organizations from across the ideological spectrum.