Investigation into Conservation Easement Scandal Underscores Importance of Daines’ Bipartisan Bill

U.S. SENATE – The U.S. Senate Finance Committee today concluded an investigation into the abuse of conservation easement tax benefits, further highlighting the need for reform and Daines’ bipartisan bill. Daines has been a leader on this issue, introducing bipartisan legislation to crack down on bad actors abusing the system.

“The abuse of the charitable conservation easement tax incentive must be put to an end. In light of the conclusions of the Finance Committee’s report, I am urging the Senate to take up my legislation and put a stop to this fraudulent behavior once and for all,” Daines said. “My bipartisan effort will prevent profit-motivated investors and syndicators from abusing this important charitable conservation tool meant to conserve our lands and protect Montana family farms and ranches.

The report shows that these abusive tax-shelters have cost taxpayers billions of dollars in the past decade and the behavior did not stop even after the IRS issued a listing notice in December 2016.

Daines’ bipartisan Charitable Conservation Easement Program Integrity Act, which tracks an IRS Listing Notice published in December 2016, would disallow a charitable deduction if it exceeds 2.5 times (250%) of a partner’s adjusted basis. The bill preserves this deduction for charitably-motivated actors, as well as many family farms and ranches.


On June 30th, 2020, Daines spoke about the importance of passing his bipartisan Charitable Conservation Easement Program Integrity Act in a U.S. Senate Finance Committee hearing.

On January 17th, 2019, Daines introduced the bipartisan Charitable Conservation Easement Program Integrity Act of 2019, a bill that would curb abuses of the popular conservation easement tax benefit while allowing it to continue to serve as an important tool for conserving land and protecting family farms and ranches.