Christopher Charles Allen, Capitol Hill staffer and tax specialist, dies

Christopher Charles Allen was an aide to the Senate Finance Committee.
Christopher Charles Allen was an aide to the Senate Finance Committee. (Handout / Baltimore Sun)

Christopher Charles Allen, a Senate Finance Committee tax aide who earlier helped create legislation for college savings plans, died Jan. 9 of an apparent heart attack he suffered at Union Station in Washington. He was 58 and lived in the Oakenshawe section of North Baltimore.

His wife, Linda Allen, said he was stricken as he awaited a train to return to Baltimore.


“Chris was beloved by everyone who had the privilege of meeting him,” Sen. Pat Roberts said in a statement. “He had a brilliant mind, a generosity of spirit and a passion for serving the country in the United States Senate. His gentle soul made him an amazing husband, father, son, brother and friend.”

Born in Evreux, France, he was the son of Daniel Allen, who was then serving in the Air Force, and his wife, Mary, a Fulbright scholar. He later lived at other military bases as a child and was a 1980 graduate of Fort Meade High School. He played soccer, ice hockey, and lacrosse and was a member of the Meade Mustangs 1980 winning lacrosse team.


He earned a political science degree at Loyola University Maryland and a master’s degree in government at the Johns Hopkins University.

“Chris was a kind person who was always searching for the fun side of things,” said Kathleen Black, a colleague and friend based in Washington. “Chris and I traveled to the Soviet Union in the 1980s. He later became a mentor to my sons and became an uncle in a lot of ways.”

Mr. Allen lived in Baltimore and commuted to Capitol Hill for 35 years. In his early career, he worked as a legislative assistant at attorneys Morrison & Forester, where he followed and reported on legislative activity for the Tax Reform Act of 1986.

He met his future wife, Lynda-Marie Brahs, during the 1987 stock market crash. They were both working on Capitol Hill and reporting to clients about tax issues.


“Chris was one of the original band of law firm legislative assistants whom Jeffrey Birnbaum named “The Tax Nerds” in his book ‘Showdown at Gucci Gulch,’ ” said his wife. The book was about the lobbying culture in Washington.

Mr. Allen then became the federal relations director of the National Association of State Treasurers, working with elected officials.

“In particular, he advocated for the adoption of the Section 529 college savings plans,” his wife said.

He later joined the Financial Accounting Foundation and did independent consulting.

He joined the office of Senator Roberts as a senior legislative assistant.

In 2018 he moved over to the Senate Committee on Finance as the senior advisor for benefits and exempt organizations, handling pensions and tax-exempt organization issues. He served Finance Chair Charles E. Grassley, an Iowa Republican.

“Chris was a public servant who brought a deep well of knowledge to his work, and he will leave behind a legacy of impact on so many lives that he was able to improve with his expertise, competence and hard work,” Senator Grassley said in a statement.

He recently had a major role in the passage of the Setting Every Community Up for Retirement Enhancement (SECURE) Act.

“He achieved major bipartisan accord and was a believer that compromise won out," his wife said. "He could engage in old-school ways, where people bring the issues to the table and compromise is achieved. But he also knew that it took plenty of work.”

Mr. Allen was a fan of the writers J.R.R. Tolkien and Jane Austen and made literary trips to Great Britain.

He was an accomplished genealogical researcher and kept boxes of files pertaining to cousins and other ancestors at his home. He discovered that his Oakenshawe home was located on a piece of ground once owned by a distant family relative.

He discovered he was three-quarters Irish and met cousins from Ireland and Scotland. His ancestors were from County Meath.

He was a Sunday school teacher at the Episcopal Cathedral of the Incarnation. He coached Towsontowne rec-league lacrosse and soccer and was a Roland Park Country School volunteer. He was a former treasurer of the Greater Homewood Community Corporation.

A memorial service will be held at 11 a.m. Saturday at the Episcopal Church of the Redeemer, 5603 N. Charles Street, where he was a member.

In addition to his wife of 30 years, a French teacher at Roland Park Country School, survivors include two daughters, Lucie Allen and Sophie Allen of Baltimore; his parents, who live in Harrison, Arkansas; two brothers, J. David Allen, also of Harrison, and Patrick Allen of Florida; and nieces and nephews.

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