Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Our Government Run Amok: Lacey Act Abuses Gibson Guitar

In 2008 Congress implemented some amendments to the Lacey Act which gives the Federal government a LOT of power to harass American companies --- and you. If you unknowingly buy a product from a company that is in violation of the Act, even if they are unaware they are in violation, the government has the right to confiscate your item and charge you as a criminal. If you watched the video above, Gibson guitars are a prime example. If you sell your guitar, or take it with you when you travel out of the country, you'll be breaking the law.

It appears that the current administration is making hay and taking their powers to the ultimate limits. The government seems to have targeted Gibson, the guitar maker using the Act as their justification.

Whether it ultimately turns out that this company is right or wrong on the very tiny issue that caused this harassment, swooping down with armed SWAT teams from across the country to confiscate wood is flat out wrong. Wouldn't it have been much cheaper, simpler and less costly just to talk with the company, get the paperwork and let them prove they are in compliance? Fine them if they refuse? Allow them to make some changes?

The government has targeted Gibson not once, but twice. They have yet to prove their rationale for the first raid almost two years ago (shortly after the implementation of the Lacey Act). 

Aren't they supposed to have proof of wrongdoing BEFORE they raid? The government first raided Gibson in 2009 regarding imports of wood from Madagacar. Gibson is suing to try and get the wood back. The government has recently asked for a stay so they can prove the company did something illegal (my interpretation of the government's statement when asking for the stay). That's definitely cart before the horse.

Our Federal government just dropped in with warrants, sent the armed SWAT teams into Gibson, sent workers home, shut the plant down and willy nilly confiscated items. It's costing Gibson around a million dollars a day. Nor did they notify them beforehand that they might be doing something wrong. Imagine how much it cost taxpayers to pay for the initial investigation, the legal costs and the cost of sending SWAT teams from at least three different states!

Is Tennessee a right to work state? Are the Unions behind this attack on this ONE guitar company? All guitar companies are using the same wood when making guitars. Why Gibson? They've hired 580 people in the last two years. Is the Obama administration singling out Gibson because they make things here in America? Are they trying to get them to move their operation out of the country? There is something more than just a simple non-compliance with the law of India going on here.

Yep, this is about a law in India they supposedly violated.

The company has all the paperwork from India, where the wood in question came from, the United States Customs signed off on it here in the United States. Gibson says they have provided all the proper paperwork and yet the government won't give up.

Here are some articles to read that will provide more information:

The Horrible Lacey Act & The Gibson Guitar Raids 

Gibson Guitar to Uncle Sam – “From my cold, dead hands”

Cross The Border, Lose Your Bentley; The Lacey Act Applies To Automobiles, Too

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