Minimum Competence - Daily Legal News Podcast
Minimum Competence
Mon 7/10 - No MAGA Hats for Mail Carriers, Greenberg Traurig Moves Towards Private Credit, IRS Changes to Dirty Dozen, SVB Sues FDIC and Van Houten Release

Mon 7/10 - No MAGA Hats for Mail Carriers, Greenberg Traurig Moves Towards Private Credit, IRS Changes to Dirty Dozen, SVB Sues FDIC and Van Houten Release

We have no MAGA hats for mail carriers, Greenberg Traurig eyes private credit market, IRS changing process for Dirty Dozen tax schemes, SVB sues the FDIC and Manson follower parole likely.

On this day in history, in 1991, Boris Yelstin was elected Russia’s first popularly elected president. 

Boris Yeltsin, a Soviet and Russian politician, served as the first president of Russia from 1991 to 1999. Initially a member of the Communist Party, he later distanced himself from the party and aligned himself with liberalism and Russian nationalism. Yeltsin was born in Butka, Ural Oblast, and after studying at the Ural State Technical University, he worked in the construction industry. Rising through the ranks of the Communist Party, he became known as an anti-establishment figure when he resigned from the Politburo in 1987. In 1990, he was elected chair of the Russian Supreme Soviet and then as president of the Russian Soviet Federative Socialist Republic (RSFSR) in 1991.

Yeltsin played a crucial role in the dissolution of the Soviet Union, leading to the establishment of the independent Russian Federation. During his presidency, Yeltsin pursued economic reforms that shifted Russia from a command economy to a market economy. This included implementing shock therapy, introducing a market exchange rate for the ruble, privatizing state-owned enterprises, and lifting price controls. Yeltsin was reelected in the controversial 1996 election, which was criticized for widespread corruption. While his presidency was marked by significant political and economic changes, it also faced challenges and criticism for its handling of reforms and corruption allegations.

A white postal employee who sued the US Postal Service for race bias has lost the case. James Halbauer claimed that he was treated unfairly for wearing a MAGA hat while his fellow co-worker faced no consequences for wearing a Black Lives Matter hat. The court ruled that the Hatch Act, which restricts political activity for civil-service employees, played a role in the decision. The judge stated that the other employee's hat was not campaign-related but associated with a social movement, whereas Halbauer's MAGA hat violated the Hatch Act. Other claims of unequal treatment regarding dress code violations were also dismissed, as Halbauer failed to provide statistical proof or demonstrate suspicious background circumstances required for a reverse discrimination case. The court concluded that Halbauer didn't exhaust pre-suit remedies and didn't raise race discrimination in his internal EEO complaint.

MAGA-Hat-Wearing White Postal Employee Loses Race Bias Lawsuit

Law firm Greenberg Traurig and other major firms are shifting their focus to the growing private credit market as traditional M&A opportunities dwindle. Private debt has increased from around $300 billion in 2010 to approximately $1.5 trillion globally as of September 2022, with projections estimating it to reach $2.2 trillion by 2027. Private credit deals are gaining popularity as an alternative to traditional lending, given bank failures and stricter standards. Greenberg Traurig has been hiring lawyers specializing in private credit across multiple locations, recognizing the potential in this area. The firm attributes its long-term success to its early focus on private equity work, and it aims to follow the trajectory of the market by investing in private credit expertise.

For the uninitiated private credit is a type of investment that involves lending money to private companies – that is, those that are not listed on stock exchanges. This asset class has been gaining popularity in recent years, as fewer companies have gone public and the number of private firms looking for capital has grown. Private credit can offer investors higher returns than traditional investments, but there are also some risks involved. In brief, these include transparency (you may not know what you are investing in) and illiquidity (you may have difficulty finding someone to buy shares you want to unload). 

Greenberg Traurig Eyes $2.2 Trillion Private Credit Market

The IRS is changing its approach to target potentially abusive transactions by issuing proposed rules to identify them as listed transactions. This shift comes after court opinions ruled that the agency must follow the formal regulatory process with notice and a comment period. The proposed rules aim to address syndicated conservation easements, micro-captive insurance transactions, and transactions involving Maltese retirement plans. The Biden administration's unified agenda also includes proposed rules on charitable remainder annuity trusts and monetized installment sales. Listing transactions as suspect subjects them to additional reporting requirements, with penalties for non-compliance. The change in approach provides more transparency and ensures that court rulings do not hinder the agency's efforts to combat abusive transactions. The IRS is expected to continue targeting transactions involving promoters and heavy marketing in its enforcement efforts.

IRS Shifts Tactics on ‘Dirty Dozen’ Suspected Tax Dodges

SVB Financial Group has filed a lawsuit against the U.S. Federal Deposit Insurance Corp (FDIC) in an attempt to recover $1.93 billion that was seized during the FDIC's takeover of failed Silicon Valley Bank in March. SVB Financial argues that the lack of access to these funds is hindering its reorganization efforts, and the money should be generating over $100 million in annual interest. The FDIC has stated that it can legally hold the seized funds while determining SVB Financial's share of the rescue costs, which the FDIC estimates to be around $16 billion. SVB Financial claims that the FDIC has not provided any specific claims to justify its refusal to pay despite having multiple opportunities to do so. In a separate ruling in May, a bankruptcy judge ordered the FDIC to return $10 million in seized tax refund checks to SVB Financial.

SVB Financial sues US FDIC to recover $1.93 bln seized in SVB rescue | Reuters

California Governor Gavin Newsom has announced that he will no longer fight against granting parole to Leslie Van Houten, one of Charles Manson's followers. Van Houten, now 73 years old, has been in prison for over 50 years. In May, a California appeals court ruled that Van Houten was entitled to parole from her life sentence. The governor could have appealed the decision to the California Supreme Court but has decided not to pursue further action as it is unlikely to succeed. Van Houten's attorney stated that she would be paroled in a matter of weeks. Van Houten was convicted of fatally stabbing a couple in their Los Angeles home as part of Manson's killing spree in 1969. Manson died in prison in 2017.

California governor to stop fighting against parole for Manson follower Leslie Van Houten | Reuters

Minimum Competence - Daily Legal News Podcast
Minimum Competence
The idea is that this podcast can accompany you on your commute home and will render you minimally competent on the major legal news stories of the day. The transcript is available in the form of a newsletter at