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Tom Vail (Senior) - the Dad

Taxes Magazine inside cover
Taxes Magazine cover

Tom Vail (Senior) died at the peak of his career.  He was known as a top expert in Tax Law, having worked in the US Congress on Tax Law for 22 years.  His position required that he be non-partisan.  He was respected as a professional by Congressmen, Senators, Governors and Cabinet Officials from both parties.

Mentioned in a Book About the Federal Legislation Process

Who Makes the Laws cover
Who Makes the Laws rear cover
Who Makes the Laws page 194

professional staff member

“When Tom Vail came to the Committee from the JCIRT in 1964, he was the only professional staff member.”

Who Makes the Laws page 195

Vail Chief Counsel

“Mid 1966 found Vail Chief Counsel, assisted by a social security-veterans’ affairs specialist, a tax expert, a medicare specialist, and shortly thereafter, an economist”


nonpartisan staff

“the nonpartisan arrangement made for a high degree of staff availability.”

Who Makes the Laws page 197

Tom Vail's philosophy

“the result of Tom Vail’s philosophy of how the staff should operate”

“He never gets us involved in politics”

“a professional staff”

“You’re there for all the Senators to use”

In the Navy

In 1944, when he was 17, my father, Tom Vail joined the United States Naval Reserve and went to war.  His rank was Fireman First Class.  He was assigned to a Destroyer Escort.  His battle station was in the turret of an anti-aircraft gun.


Congressional Eulogies

In 1973, when he died from cancer at age 45, my father was at the peak of his career (but still had greater potential).  As a veteran staffer of the Congress, he was know by many, in and out of government.  Senators and Congressmen officially memorialized his passing, and his past service.

An Excerpt . . .

Senator Lawton Chiles (D) of Florida:  “Tom was an outstanding public servant and gave his tremendous talents their full exercise on the Finance Committee.”

“I found him to be a man of unusual dedication to his work with a . . . keen mind that made him invaluable to the Senate.”

“Others . . . in the Senate . . . came to depend upon his excellent judgement.”