Sean Foley, a legend in the international tax field who reshaped global tax policy over the course of thirty years, died unexpectedly from a heart attack on September 9th in Sausalito, CA. A devoted husband, father, son, brother, and friend, Sean was 65.
Sean dedicated his life to finding equitable answers to the day-to-day challenges that keep the economy moving. Sean began his professional career on the Hill, serving as the Legislative Director for the Chairman of the Ways and Means Committee, Congressman Sandy Levin. During this time, he attended Georgetown Law and graduated summa cum laude. While working for Congressman Levin, he found his passion for tax. He saw tax policy as the key to improving people's lives. As he would note later in life, every single government policy and program needs funding to run.
After graduating from law school, Sean clerked for Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, then of the DC Circuit Court of Appeals.
Sean was very active in politics and, in 1992, he cofounded the Saxophone Club, an organization that mobilized young voters to elect President Bill Clinton The little shiny saxophone pin became ubiquitous amongst young people in Washington, D.C. and President Clinton acknowledged the Club's significant contribution in numerous speeches.
After working several years in private practice, Sean joined the Internal Revenue Service, where he led the Advance Pricing Agreement (APA) Program which negotiates fair taxation of multinational corporations. He enjoyed working across countries and cultures to collaborate on finding fair answers.
After five years with the IRS, Sean joined the global accounting firm KPMG, where he spent the next twenty-two years of his career, first as a Principal and later as the Head of Global Transfer Pricing Services. He is remembered as a bold leader who brought creativity, energy, and fun to any team.
Sean served the broader community by completing significant pro bono work with a particular interest in prisoner rights. He actively participated on committees such as the ABA Tax Transfer Pricing Committee where he served in numerous roles including its Chair in 2011-2012 and he used his exceptional teaching and mentoring skills serving as an Associate Professor with both Georgetown Law and the University of Florida's LLM Program.
Sean was born in Pontiac, Michigan to John and Joan Foley. The oldest of six children, he grew up in Kalamazoo, Michigan where he attended Hackett High School. He graduated from the University of Michigan with a bachelor's degree in chemistry and economics, and from Georgetown University Law Center with a J.D. and an L.L.M. in taxation with distinction.
His greatest joy was traveling the world with his beloved wife Eva and sharing these adventures with his family and friends.
He is survived by his wife of thirty-four years, Eva Foley, his two children, Maeve and Sinead Foley, his five siblings, Patrick Foley, Rosemary Foley (Gerard Boruch), Joan Foley (Earle Weiss), Meg Foley McCabe (Kevin McCabe), and Ella Foley Gannon (Cormac Gannon), and eleven nieces and nephews.
A memorial service is being held at the University Club in San Francisco, Friday September 22nd, 2-4:30 pm. In lieu of flowers, the family requests donations to the Washington Lawyers' Committee for Civil Rights and Urban Affairs.