Land Trust News

Kelly Kountz Photo / Courtesy of Gallatin Valley Land Trust

Senator Daines Works With Alliance, Introduces Syndication Legislation

Senator Steve Daines has been working with the Land Trust Alliance leadership on a Senate version of H.R. 4459, The Charitable Conservation Easement Program Integrity Act of 2917, and on Feb. 16 the Senator introduced S. 2436. The essentially identical bills seek to address the issue of conservation easement “syndication“ by: 1) Stopping those who would abuse a charitable incentive for profit, while 2) Continuing to reward honest philanthropy. MALT Board President Gavin Ricklefs sent individual letters to all three members of the Montana Congressional Delegation expressing MALT’s appreciation for Sen. Daines’ sponsorship and voicing land trust support for the legislation. In his letter, Gavin writes that, “We cannot afford to lose public support for this important conservation tool that you helped put into place to recognize and reward true charity. Previous attempts by the IRS and the conservation community to halt these abusive transactions have been unsuccessful. That’s where the Charitable Conservation Easement Program Integrity Act comes in. It will continue to reward honest philanthropy and stop those who would abuse a charitable incentive for profit. This bill is straightforward and narrowly drafted, and it takes care to create an important exception for family partnerships.” A copy the MALT’s letter to Senator Daines is attached. In an Alliance press release, Alliance President Andrew Bowman said, “These bipartisan bills would prevent abuse while ensuring the vast majority of conservation easements can continue to go forward as truly charitable endeavors. On behalf of the Alliance’s 1,000 member land trusts, I applaud Sen. Daines, Sen. Stabenow, Rep. Thompson and Rep. Kelly for their leadership on this urgent issue.”

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