Monitoring Legislative and Regulatory Developments and Advancing Legislative or Regulatory Strategy
Caplin & Drysdale
Monitoring Legislative and Regulatory Developments and Advancing Legislative or Regulatory Strategy

When your organization commits significant resources to advance a legislative or regulatory strategy, you want advocates who not only are conversant with the existing rules governing exempt organizations, but who also know how to persuade policymakers.

Caplin & Drysdale's exempt organizations attorneys have that precise blend of experience. Many of our attorneys have served in policymaking positions at Treasury, the IRS, or on Capitol Hill. One spent a number of years coordinating lobbying activities for a major national charity. Our team members are able to craft and effectively execute legislative and regulatory strategies on issues unique to exempt organizations. We use our familiarity with the history of many of these issues and our experience in structuring advocacy efforts to help our clients choose the strategy that has the greatest likelihood of success.

After developing a strategy, we help our clients explain and build support for that strategy with their constituents, and we help in all aspects of making their case to policymakers. As part of this effort, we create concise, persuasive written materials that provide government personnel with exactly the information that they need. Having been on the receiving side of such presentations, many of our lawyers are particularly sensitive to the need to be brief but thorough with government personnel.

Representative Engagements

  1. The Council on Foundations wanted to ensure that gifts of appreciated stock to private foundations would be fully deductible on a permanent basis. Because most major private foundations are started with gifts of highly appreciated stock, successful resolution of the issue was vital to the continued growth of the foundation field.

    Result: We first worked with the Council in the early 1980s to persuade Congress to enact legislation making gifts of appreciated stock to private foundations deductible up to the fair market value of the stock (subject to a limitation based on taxable income). When the legislation was set to expire ten years later, the Council again sought our assistance to get multiple renewals and, ultimately, a permanent provision passed.
  2. In 1993, in the wake of several high-profile scandals involving officers and directors of various charities, Congress began considering new rules to curb insider misconduct. Independent Sector needed assistance evaluating the various proposals and determining what its approach should be.

    Result: Caplin & Drysdale worked with Independent Sector to weigh the pros and cons of new federal rules. Concluding with Independent Sector that legislation was needed, but concerned about possible over-regulation, we developed a detailed legislative proposal on Independent Sector's behalf. It was this proposal that formed the basis for the "intermediate sanctions" legislation that was ultimately enacted.
  3. A large group of community foundations was concerned about a legislative proposal issued by the President that would affect their donor-advised funds. The community foundations wanted assistance in convincing the Administration to alter its approach and in ensuring that any legislation that was enacted would be acceptable to the group.

    Result: Caplin & Drysdale analyzed the Administration's proposal, helped the community foundations develop a consensus on the legal structure they wanted, and then helped carry their views to the Administration and Capitol Hill. As a result of this work, the Administration acknowledged flaws in its initial proposal, and progress on legislation has been slowed, thereby giving the community foundations the time they need to secure legislation they prefer.

Our Services

    • Timely notice and analysis of key legislative and regulatory developments
    • Planning strategy for advocacy
    • Making oral presentations to staff
    • Drafting focused position papers, statements for the record, and testimony

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