September 16,2019

Grassley, Wyden Subpoena Subjects in Investigation of Syndicated Conservation Easements

Washington – Senate Finance Committee Chairman Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) and Ranking Member Ron Wyden (D-Ore.) have issued subpoenas for documents in their bipartisan probe of syndicated conservation-easement transactions. Generally, conservation easements are a legitimate tax tool to promote land conservation, but some of them in recent years may have allowed some taxpayers to profit from gaming the law—depriving the government of billions in revenue.
Grassley and Wyden issued the following joint statement.
“As we’ve both said all along, conservation easements have very legitimate purposes. We need to protect those purposes and protect the American taxpayer. If a handful of folks can game the system for profit, then we’re all left holding the bag. We expect fulsome cooperation with our investigation, and it’s unfortunate we’ve had to resort to compulsory process. Ultimately, when Congress makes an inquiry, it needs to be answered. It’s not optional.”

Six individuals were served subpoenas: Matthew Campbell, Robert McCullough, Matt Ornstein, Eugene “Chip” Pearson, Mark Pickett and Frank Schuler. Grassley and Wyden are seeking compliance with documents requests that they made when they launched the probe in March