Thursday, September 9, 2021

Andrew Strelka joins Latham & Watkins LLP (9/9/21)

In a press release here, Latham and Watkins announced that Andrew Strelka joined the firm after a stint in the Biden White House as Senior Tax Counsel.  In part relevant to his Tax Division service, the press release says " Strelka's prior government service also includes experience at the Internal Revenue Service, the US Attorney's Office for the District of Columbia, and the US Department of Justice's Tax Division where he was detailed to a similar tax advisory role in the Obama White House."  

His firm bio is here.

Wednesday, September 1, 2021

Ann Reid Retires from DOJ Tax (9/1/21)

Another over the transom email from the AAG regarding the retirement of Ann Reid:

All – I want to take just a minute of your time to recognize Ann Reid’s retirement on August 30. Following her service as an officer in the U.S. Navy, Ann joined the Tax Division in 1986. She has been a trial attorney, Counsel to a Deputy AAG, Assistant Chief, and most recently Chief of the Division’s Office of Review and Financial Litigation Unit. Ann was outstanding in all these roles, achieving great results for the United States. In addition to her legal accomplishments, Ann has been a force for improving the Division. She was the vice chair in the Division’s Diversity Committee’s first year, and chair in its second year when its by-laws were drafted and adopted. Along the way, Ann showed everyone that the same attorney could be a tough-as-nails litigator who leaves nothing on the table in negotiations, lead the knitting club, create fabulous art, and be at the vanguard of demonstrating how parents can apply themselves to the difficult balance of family and work demands. The American public greatly benefitted from Ann’s dedicated service, and the Division is a better place for it.

Dennis Donohue Retires from DOJ Tax (9/1/21)

Someone threw over my internet transom an email from the AAG announcing the retirement of Dennis Donohue.  Given the subject matter, I did not think anyone would object to my copying and pasting the contents here:

Dennis Donohue is retiring from his role as Chief Senior Litigation Counsel today.

After graduating with a Masters of Tax Law from George Washington University’s National Law Center, Dennis began his career with the Tax Division in 1971. His original intention was to complete his four-year commitment and then leave for private practice. But he quickly developed a passion for representing the United States in complex tax litigation. Beginning with the first wave of abusive shelters in the 1980s, through the corporate abusive shelters of the 1990s, and continuing to the present day, Dennis successfully litigated numerous cases against some of the most formidable tax litigators in the country. Abusive tax shelter schemes such as Corporate Owned Life Insurance (COLI) and Structured Trust Advantaged Repackaged Securities (STARS) were rejected by the courts as a result of Dennis’s dogged advocacy. Dennis’s efforts over the years brought billions of dollars into the Treasury and contributed to the tax law’s development.

As Chief Senior Litigation Counsel, Dennis was called on to develop and supervise teams of trial attorneys and administrative professionals from across the Division. He worked extensively with the Internal Revenue Service, IRS Chief Counsel's Office and, at times, with other Government agencies. Over his career, Dennis worked with top economists, academics, and other expert witnesses from around the world, resulting in courtroom presentations that distilled complex transactions into understandable concepts. While each team differed based on the nature of the case, they had one thing in common— forming to immediately face top tax practitioners in our nation’s most challenging and sophisticated tax cases.

Dennis has been on the forefront of developing new strategies to present complicated, technical cases to judges and juries throughout his career. His innovative techniques and trial tactics have been adopted by other attorneys to enhance their overall presentation of evidence in court. In the mid-1990s, a new breed of dauntingly intricate shelters surfaced, designed by sophisticated tax professionals for corporations and high-net-worth individuals. These cases often generated millions of pages of documents and thousands of exhibits. Dennis responded by becoming one of the pioneers in presenting evidence electronically and leading the Division to the new frontier of electronic court presentation.

UGA Law Names Rotunda for Chester C. Davenport (9/1/21)

The announcement is here.  Some excerpts (bold-face supplied by JAT):

The University of Georgia School of Law has named its iconic rotunda after its first Black graduate, Chester C. Davenport. A portrait of Davenport is being commissioned and will eventually hang in the space located at the main entrance to the law school.

Davenport, who passed away in August 2020, was a monumental figure in the School of Law’s history. He was the law school’s first Black student and remained its only Black student during his law school career. He earned his law degree in 1966, finishing in the top 5% of his class and serving as a founding member of the editorial board of the Georgia Law Review.

* * * * 

During the past year, Davenport was memorialized with the establishment of the Chester C. Davenport Memorial Endowment at the law school and was posthumously awarded the UGA Alumni Association’s oldest and highest honor, the Alumni Merit Award.

* * * *

After law school, the Athens, Georgia, native and Morehouse College graduate became an attorney in the tax division of the U.S. Department of Justice and subsequently served as a legislative assistant for California Sen. Alan Cranston. Following a position on President Jimmy Carter’s transition team and an appointment as assistant secretary at the U.S. Department of Transportation, Davenport co-founded a law practice based in Washington, D.C. He later started a private equity firm.

Monday, August 23, 2021

Newsletter Focusing on DOJ Tax Criminal Enforcement Section (8/23/21)

I received the email below from Jeff Beinholt, an alumnus of DOJ Tax CES (the Criminal Section initialism).  The content speaks for itself.  Some readers of this blog may be within the target audience for his newsletter focusing on CES.

 "Greetings. Jeff Breinholt here, an alumnus of the Tax (Crim) Division (1990-1997). About six months ago, I launched a newsletter devoted to Tax Division history, culture, and lore, called The Malone Report. It's a private online newsletter/blog that is only available to registered members (though it's free). Would any of you Tax Division alums like to be added? If so, you can send an email to GMAD2021@yahoo.com."

Saturday, August 21, 2021

DOJ Tax Alumni Email List (8/21/21)

As I noted in an earlier blog entry, Setting Up New DOJ Tax Division Alumni Mailing List (1/5/21), here, I would set up a new email list using Google Groups.  I have done that.  Anyone wanting to be on that list should email me at:

jack@tjtaxlaw.com

I will use the list to advise of new blog entries and other items that may be of interest to members of the group.  I can assure people signing up for the list that I will not flood your inboxes with emails.  I suspect that, based on past experience with the past email service, there will be 15 or fewer emails per year.  Of course, events could make more appropriate, but I doubt that many more will be appropriate in any year.

I think this list will permit others to send emails to the group.  Before any such emails are distributed to the list, I will moderate the emails to ensure that they are appropriate.  If I do not think they are appropriate for distribution, I will discuss the matter with the sender and reach an appropriate resolution.  But, I retain final authority as to what gets distributed.  I will make sure the email inboxes are not flooded with inappropriate content.

Death of Jon Forman 8/16/21 (8/21/21)

Jon Forman (DOJ Tax – Northern Civil 1979-1983) passed away on August 16, 2021.  The obituary is here.  The obituary and comments are very good in recording some features of his life.  The obituary is probably a good place to post comments and observations about John.  Of course, such posts can also be made on this blog entry.

Sunday, August 8, 2021

Nathan Hochman Seeks California Attorney General Post (8/8/21)

I picked up this offering about an illustrious DOJ Tax Alum:  Congressman Darrell Issa endorses Nathan Hochman for Attorney General, here.  The offering states in part:  “In 2008, Nathan was appointed by President George W. Bush and confirmed by the US Senate as US Assistant Attorney General overseeing the Department of Justice’s Tax Division.”

The offering also directs those interested to a Facebook offering titled Nathan Hochman for Attorney General 2022, here.

I also found this YouTube offering, here

I could not find whether Hochman has obtained or sought Donald Trump’s endorsement.  But, I suppose, an Issa endorsement goes most of the way there, since as best I can tell Issa and Trump are cut from the same cloth (see Wikipedia, here). 

Friday, June 4, 2021

Death of Allen Schwait 5/27/21 (6/4/21)

Allen Schwait of Baltimore, died May 27.  See Allen L. Schwait, Baltimore City Circuit Court judge who chaired University of Maryland Board of Regents, dies (The Baltimore Sun 6/3/21),  here.. Some excerpts:

“Allen was what you’d want in a trial judge. He was a true gentleman and scholar and had a keen intellect. He was a true mensch,” said former Circuit Judge Stuart R. Berger, currently a judge of the Maryland Court of Special Appeals.

* * * *

In 1964, he was appointed as a trial attorney to the Civil Refund Trial Section of the Tax Division of the U.S. Department of Justice, where he specialized in tax refund cases and served until 1967.

Judge Schwait began practicing law in 1969 with the law firm of Garbis & Schwait, specializing in general and tax litigation until 1993, when he became a partner in Azrael, Gann & Franz.\

“They call judges honorable, and Allen was truly an honorable guy,” Mr. Starr said. “It truly fit him and he was so well-suited to be called honorable.”

“Allen was a bright guy who made his own way, and a good Baltimore guy in so many ways who knew everyone in town,” said Peter A. Jay, a former Sun columnist. “He was very community-minded, thoughtful, intelligent and good-humored. He led a good constructive life, and I always thought he was the kind of person who should have been a judge.”

Tuesday, June 1, 2021

Death of Murphy Booth 5/29/21 (6/1/21)

Murphy Booth passed away on Saturday, May 29, 2021, after a short battle with cancer.

Murphy’s public service with the federal government spanned more than 42 years. He first joined the government in 1977 working for the Soil Conservation Service at the Department of Agriculture followed by more than three years at the Veterans’ Administration. Murphy joined the Tax Division on January 22, 1984, working in the Criminal Section. He worked for many years in the Criminal Enforcement Section, Northern Region, before moving to the Office of Management and Administration in 1997. 

His obituary is here:  https://www.goinghomecares.com/obituaries/Murphy-Booth?obId=21249778

At this time, plans for a memorial service are not available. If I lean of plans for a memorial service, I will post the information here.