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Political Payback at the Expense of American Jobs

As unemployment continues to be problematic and the nation’s GDP falls, Washington has proven once again to be no friend of American enterprise. Two successful American manufacturers continue to be targets, not of international interests, but of the Justice Department of the United States.

Henry Juszkiewicz, the CEO of Gibson Guitars, Inc., says Gibson is under attack from the Obama Administration Justice Department with accusations that the company broke the law. But the twist here is that the Justice Department isn’t defending American laws. Instead it is seeking to interpret and enforce the laws of India.

At issue is the charge by our government that Gibson’s use of Indian unfinished wood is illegal, not because of U.S. law, but because of the Justice Department’s interpretation of Indian law. Last week, the Justice Department conducted raids on two of Gibson’s manufacturing plants, causing hundreds of workers to be laid off and costing Gibson at least million dollars a week. Two years ago Gibson had $500,000 in materials confiscated by the Justice Department and is currently in court seeking to force the government to return its property.

GIBSON PRESS RELEASE: The Federal Department of Justice in Washington, D.C. has suggested that the use of wood from India that is not finished by Indian workers is illegal, not because of U.S. law, but because it is the Justice Department’s interpretation of a law in India. (If the same wood from the same tree was finished by Indian workers, the material would be legal.) This action was taken without the support and consent of the government in India.

On August 24, 2011, around 8:45 a.m. CDT, agents for the federal government executed four search warrants on Gibson’s facilities in Nashville and Memphis and seized several pallets of wood, electronic files and guitars. Gibson had to cease its manufacturing operations and send workers home for the day, while armed agents executed the search warrants. Gibson has fully cooperated with the execution of the search warrants.

Another American manufacturer of guitars and electronics, Peavey Electronics of Mississippi, has been the target of numerous allegations of failure to meet federal safety and emissions standards.

Political Targeting?

Both Gibson and Peavey have good reason to believe the Justice Department has targeted them for political reasons rather a concern for the forests of India. No other American guitar maker been investigated by the Justice Department, and at least one has the exact same Indian wood in question boldly highlighted in product catalogues. C.F. Martin & Company’s catalogue states that several of its guitars contain “East Indian Rosewood”, the exact same wood confiscated from Gibson.

So why Gibson and Peavey but not other manufacturers using the same wood from India? Perhaps it is because the CEO of C.F. Martin is Chris Martin IV, a long-time Democratic supporter and major contributor to both Democrat candidates and the DNC.

Another factor that cannot be overlooked is that Gibson and Peavey hold one thing in common. Both are located in right-to-work states, while every guitar manufacturer overlooked by the Justice Department is in a forced-union state.

Gibson is the only guitar company targeted by the Obama DOJ under the Lacey Act. Tennessee is a right-to-work state. Peavey, also targeted numerous times, is located in another right-to-work state, Mississippi.

Guitar manufacturers that have not been targeted included Fender, Taylor, Rickenbacker, Danelectro, Carvin, MusicMan, and ESP in California; Spector in New York; Martin in Pennsylvania; Guild, Ovation, and Hamer in Connecticut; Alvarez in Missouri; B.C. Rich in Kentucky; Heritage in Michigan; and Washburn in Illinois. All are in forced-union states.

The Gibson facility was not raided due to allegations of tax evasion, charges of embezzlement, or even child labor violations. It was raided over what the DOJ deemed an inability to follow a vague domestic trade law in India that apparently the Indian government hasn’t sought to enforce.

©2011 Off the Grid News

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