because of the size of Baldwin's claim, the lowest-ranking official authorized to settle this case was the officer in charge of the Tax Division of the Department of Justice, the Assistant Attorney General of the Tax Division ("Assistant Attorney General"), fn3 and her authority is limited by the requirement that the Congressional Joint Committee on Taxation ("Joint Committee") reviews and has no adverse criticism to the proposed refund or settlement. fn4 See 28 C.F.R. §§ 0.160-.0162; see also Rules and Regulations, 76 Fed. 1Reg. 15212-02 (Mar. 21, 2011). The government argued that the personal participation of the Assistant Attorney General should not be required and proposed instead that the settlement conference be personally attended by the trial attorneys with primary responsibility for the handling of the case, with the Section Chief of the Tax Division's Office of Review ("Section Chief") available for consultation by telephone during the settlement conference. The Section Chief is authorized to accept offers in compromise in cases against the United States in which the amount of the government's concession, exclusive of statutory interest, does not exceed $1.5 million. See Rules and Regulations, 76 Fed. Reg. 15212-02 (Mar. 21, 2011).
Tuesday, September 18, 2012
In United States v. United States District Court for the Northern Mariana Islands, ___ F.3d ___, 2012 U.S. App. LEXIS 19134 (9th Cir. 2012), here, the Ninth Circuit held that, under the facts, the district court had abused its discretion in ordering, in a large tax refund suit, that a Government official with authority to settle the case be present at a compulsory settlement conference. At the district court, in opposing that order at the trial letter, the Government stated: