Why Is Our Government Persecuting a Guitar Maker?

| August 26, 2011 | 1 Reply

I honestly have no idea what authority the Department of Justice has to raid two different Gibson Guitar factories twice in the past two years, shut it down for at least a day, seize files and real property, and hold that property for more than a year without one word of explanation to the rightful owners. Yet that is exactly what has happened.

The only explanation our government — and let us be clear that it is our government, elected by us and with power that we explicitly grant to it — has given the CEO of the company is that the Department of Justice believes that Gibson has violated the laws of India or maybe Madagascar.

This is important because, as John Hayward explains, the DoJ may be investigating Gibson under the Lacey Act, which states that Americans companies who buy products from foreign countries must comply with all the laws of that country. I say “may be” because our government has sealed the records and no one has bothered to explain to Gibson why it’s been under a federal investigation for more than a year.

Henry Juszkiewicz, Gibson’s Chairman and CEO, has called out the Department of Justice publicly and claims the investigation is bunk. He has sworn statements and certifications from government officials who say that Gibson obeyed all of their country’s laws and certifications and that they have no complaint against his company whatever.

So what we have is a case where the American government is persecuting an American company for apparent violations of the laws of another country even though the government officials of that country have sworn that no such violations occurred.

This is unconscionable. Our government is holding an American company hostage over nothing at all. Attorney General Eric Holder needs to drop this case immediately and apologize to everyone at Gibson for his agency’s inexcusable overreach, that is, unless he’s too busy arming the Mexican drug cartels. With him, you never know.

(I had hoped the guitar in the iconic Johnny Cash picture was a Gibson, but alas, it appears it is not. Cash used Martins almost exclusively throughout his career. However, were he alive today, I’m fairly sure he’d be on Gibson’s side.)

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Category: The Rise of the Nanny State

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