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Wednesday, June 8, 2005

Senate Finance Committee Holds Hearing Today on The Tax Code and Land Conservation

Senate_1The Senate Finance Committee holds a public hearing today on The Tax Code and Land Conservation: Report on Investigations and Proposals for Reform.  Scheduled witnesses include:

      • Jonathan Selib (Tax Counsel, Senate Finance Committee)
      • Dean Zerbe (Tax Counsel and Senior Counsel to the Chairman, Senate Finance Committee)
      • Earl E. Devaney (Inspector General, U.S. Department of Interior)
      • Steven J. McCormick (President and CEO, Nature Conservancy)
      • Ira Millstein (Weil, Gotshal & Manges, New York)
      • Rand Wentworh (President, Land Trust Alliance)
      • Timothy Lindstrom (Director of Protection & Staff Attorney, Jackson Hole Land Trust)
      • Burnet R. Maybank, III (Director, South Carolina Department of Revenue)
      • Steven T. Miller (Commissioner, Tax Exempt and Government Entities Operating Division, IRS)

In conjunction with the hearing, the Senate Finance Committee has issued a 219-page report on The Nature Conservancy.  Here is part of the Executive Summary:

On April 9, 2003, the Senate passed the CARE Act by a vote of 95-5. The CARE Act was intended to encourage charitable giving and included specific provisions strongly supported by Senators Grassley and Baucus to encourage the donation or sale of partial and entire interests in property dedicated for conservation. In May of 2003, The Washington Post published a series of stories on TNC and raised serious questions about the policies and practices of TNC, including issues of corporate governance, charitable contributions (especially regarding certain conservation easement arrangements), commercial activity and unrelated business income, and arrangements with insiders. The Committee undertook an investigation of TNC to better understand the questions raised by The Washington Post articles and their significance regarding the administration and enforcement of Federal tax laws governing exempt organizations and charitable donations.

The hearing will be held at 10:00 am in 628 Dirksen Senate Office Building.

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