December 17,2003

Baucus Requests Details on Interior Department Planned Land Rights Purchase

Senator Concerned by

(WASHINGTON, D.C.) U.S. Senator Max Baucus today sent a letter to the Inspector Generalof the U.S. Interior Department requesting further details regarding the department's plannedacquisition of mineral rights located in the Big Cypress National Preserve, Florida PantherNational Wildlife Refuge, and Ten Thousand Islands National Wildlife Refuge.

Baucus highlighted his concerns to the Inspector General about land donations andpotentially abusive charitable tax deductions received from the donations.Full text of the letter follows:

December 16, 2003
Mr. Earl Devany
Inspector General
U.S. Department of the Interior
1849 C St., NW
Washington, DC 20240
Dear Mr. Devany:

Recent press accounts indicate that the Department of Interior Inspector General officehas initiated an investigation into the Department of the Interior’s planned acquisition of mineralrights located in the Big Cypress National Preserve, Florida Panther National Wildlife Refuge,and Ten Thousand Islands National Wildlife Refuge. The press accounts have also indicated thatthe entity selling the above mentioned mineral rights to the federal government also plans to takea partial sale charitable deduction as part of the transaction.

As you may know, the Finance Committee is investigating activities of various taxexempt organizations, with specific attention being paid to potentially abusive tax transactionsinvolving donations of land. Because of our concern over land dona tions, and charitable taxdeductions in general, we are interested in viewing your findings. Accordingly, I am requesting

that you provide a copy of the draft reports on these projects to my staff as soon as they areavailable.

Sincerely yours,

Max Baucus
Ranking Member