To battle against government encroachment, citizens from across the country are making plans to travel to Nashville, Tennessee, on October 8 to attend the “We stand with Gibson” rally.
Last month, armed agents from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and Homeland Security raided Gibson Guitar’s corporate headquarters and four Gibson factories in Memphis and Nashville, confiscating 24 pallets of Indian rosewood and ebony, as well as guitars (more than $500,000 in product), and computer files.
The Justice Department’s decision to raid Gibson is prompting inquiries from Congress, and a debate on the impact federal regulations have on jobs.
On Tuesday, Republican lawmakers demanded more details from the Justice Department and Interior Department. In a statement, Rep. Marsha Blackburn (R-TN), a member of the House Committee on Energy and Commerce, asked, “Why did they send armed agents into Gibson’s facilities? It is beyond me why not once, but twice, the Administration felt the need to act like a bunch of cowboys, when I am sure a letter like this or a simple phone call stating their concerns to Gibson’s leaders would have prompted a very cooperative response.”
The Justice Department’s raid cost Gibson more than $1 million in lost profits, because the company was forced to shut down production and send hundreds of works home—after they were interrogated by Homeland Security.
“Gibson Chief Executive Henry Juszkiewicz said that he has hired a law firm to help craft a bill to amend the Lacey Act and is looking for sponsors in Congress,” The Wall Street Journal reports.
“Juszkiewicz also said he wants a mechanism to arbitrate grievances if there is ‘overreach’ by federal agencies conducting investigations. … ‘Suppose the government is wrong, which I would say it is. They just incurred millions of dollars of damage for us and there are no consequences for that.'”
Obama’s Justice Department is claiming that Gibson violated Indian law by importing ebony and rosewood fingerboards that were not 100% manufactured in India.
Had the fingerboards been manufactured solely in India, and not finished in America, the product would be legal. So, it looks as though Obama wants to ban the “Made in the USA” label, by sending all of our manufacturing jobs overseas — to Madagascar and India!
Many have speculated that Obama’s Justice Department is attacking Gibson because they operate non-union manufacturing plants, and because Juszkiewicz is a big contributor to Republican candidates.
This might sound far-fetched at first, until one learns that Gibson Guitar’s top competitors — who are unionized and big supporters of Obama – have not been raided, and they, too, import unfinished rosewood and ebony fingerboards from India.
According to the Wall Street Journal, “Federal agents first raided Gibson factories in November 2009. … Gene Nix, a wood product engineer at Gibson, was questioned by agents after the first raid and told he could face five years in jail.”
Juszkiewicz says that Gibson employees are being “treated like drug criminals.” And he can’t believe that federal agents told workers that they could face criminal prosecution for sorting wood in the Gibson Guitar factory.
According to a court filing made by the Obama Justice Department, the Gibson Guitar Company is being told by the Administration to move its manufacturing overseas … to Madagascar.
This Administration is spending millions of dollars to pursue Gibson in an attempt to force the company to send all of its manufacturing jobs overseas. At a time when Obama is claiming that he wants to create jobs, his Justice Department is doing everything it can to eliminate Gibson’s American workforce.
In an attempt to rationalize the department’s injustice, Eric Holder is using the Lacey Act of 1900 for his reasoning behind the raids on Gibson. The Lacey Act was originally passed to regulate trade in bird feathers used for hats, and it was amended in 2008 to cover wood and other plant products.
Obama’s Justice Department is not criminalizing the import of rosewood and ebony, rather the manufacturing process that is being completed here, in America.
Since the Indian rosewood and ebony fingerboards are not finished by workers in India, the feds are claiming that the product is illegal to import into the U.S. — not because of U.S. law, but because Obama’s Justice Department wants to interpret India’s law whichever way it sees fit, in order to push the Administration’s agenda.
“I think they’re taking the position that we should be shifting these jobs overseas,” Bruce Mitchell, the chief legal counsel for Gibson told Fox News. “We have – probably 40 people in our factory here who are doing the inlays into the fingerboard. … If all that was to be done over in India, then … those jobs would be lost.”
According to Fox News, “… India is perfectly happy to ship the fingerboard ‘blanks’ to the United States. In a letter dated July 13, the deputy director general of foreign trade for India confirmed that ‘fingerboards made of rosewood and ebony is freely exportable.'”
The fact that the Justice Department has issued warrants and raided Gibson based on their interpretation of Indian law, is frightening!
Juszkiewicz said that in 2009, the feds seized $500,000 in goods from Gibson factories, and the company is suing the government in Federal Court in Nashville to get their property back. (The government hasn’t charged the company with any wrongdoing.)
“We feel totally abused. We believe the arrogance of federal power is impacting me personally, our company personally and the employees here in Tennessee, and it’s just plain wrong,” Juszkiewicz said in a statement released to the media.
The Obama administration’s attack on Gibson is expected to cost the company more than $10 million,and even more if the company is forced to export all of its jobs overseas.
Members of Congress need to hear from you…TODAY!
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P.S. The acts of the Justice Department must be investigated. At a time when 14 million Americans are unemployed, and millions more are underemployed, why is the Obama administration attacking Gibson, an American institution that continues to hire new employees – right here in America.