Jim Tobin, R.I.P.

Published December 28, 2021

With sorrow I advise of the death on December 15, 2021, at Berwyn, Illinois, of Jim Tobin, the Founder and President of Taxpayers United of America. Jim was 76.

Jim was a lifelong advocate of limited government and of governmental transparency.  TUA, the organization he founded in 1976 as National Taxpayers United of Illinois, continues to work for those causes.

Jim earned his M.A. in international economics at Northern Illinois University and worked for many years as a bank examiner for the Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago.  He taught economics for 20 years at Elmhurst College.  In 2002 he was the nominee of the Libertarian Party for Lieutenant Governor of Illinois.

In 1990, as President of NTU, Jim joined with Joe Bast, then the President of the Heartland Institute, Paul Caprio, President of Family PAC, Clarke D. Forsythe, then the President of Americans United for Life, and me, the President of the Lincoln Legal Foundation, to convene the first meeting of the Fort Dearborn Group, a monthly, standing, clearinghouse meeting of activists and leaders of conservative, libertarian, and allied organizations in the Chicago area.  Insofar as I am aware, the Fort Dearborn Group is the oldest continuously meeting group of what Grover Norquist, the President of Americans for Tax Reform in Washington, D.C., likes to call “center-right” or “leave-us-alone” coalitions in the nation.

Jim was strongly principled, fearless, good-humored most of the time, but delightfully cantankerous in the face of governmental folly.

He is survived by his daughter, Christina, and many relatives, numerous friends, and countless beneficiaries of his civic advocacy. Private services, I understand, have already been held. May the memory of Jim Tobin always be as a blessing to us all.