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Gibson Guitars CEO on DOJ bullies: “[S]macks of something from an Orwell novel”

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By Michelle Malkin  •  September 1, 2011 10:08 AM

Two significant items to add to the Gibson Guitars vs. Obama DOJ story that we noted on Friday.

Since the WSJ first reported on the famed instrument-maker’s battle with the feds over rare wood used in its guitars last week, people across the country have rallied to Gibson’s side. The company’s CEO, Henry Juszkiewicz has publicized his legal plight –and the heavy-handed, botched enforcement tactics of a Justice Department bent on mis-applying foreign laws to American workers.

1) Andrew Lawton and Landmark Report note that Juszkiewicz has donated to GOP candidates, while one of his leading competitors “is a long-time Democratic supporter, with $35,400 in contributions to Democratic candidates and the DNC over the past couple of election cycles.”

2) Stacy McCain has the transcript and Ben Howe at RedState also spotlights Juszkiewicz’s recent KMJ interview in which the CEO revealed that the feds asserted in a court pleading that Gibson would be better off shipping their manufacturing labor overseas to Madagascar (be sure to click on the link to listen to the interview). Howe adds:

So the government attacked them in the first place by citing obscure regulations that probably weren’t violated about importation of wood. Now they are suggesting that all these problems would go away if they simply exported their labor.

Had it simply been said in passing by an agent, one could write it off as a lone sarcastic agent, trying to push buttons. But the fact that they actually wrote it in the pleading is a level of hubris that goes well beyond over zealous law enforcement officials and passes straight into what can easily be translated as an out of control and corrupt targeting of an American corporation.

When President Obama gives his jobs speech next week, let’s hope he has an answer for why our government would want to force and coerce corporations to send jobs overseas.

While his overzealous lawyers bully American employers, Obama whines about American jobs.

***

The WSJ has a more extensive follow-up today to Eric Felten’s original Friday item on the Gibson raid. Read the whole thing. A snippet:

Federal agents first raided Gibson factories in November 2009 and were back again Aug. 24, seizing guitars, wood and electronic records. 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.

“Can you imagine a federal agent saying, ‘You’re going to jail for five years’ and what you do is sort wood in the factory?” said Mr. Juszkiewicz, recounting the incident. “I think that’s way over the top.” Gibson employees, he said, are being “treated like drug criminals.”

Mr. Nix hasn’t been accused of any wrongdoing. He couldn’t be reached for comment.

…The government has focused on a March 2009 shipment of ebony from Madagascar intended for guitar fingerboards. Madagascar law bars the export of certain unfinished wood products, according to both Gibson and the government. Gibson says the ebony had been cut into pieces and that local officials approved the export as a legal sale of finished goods.

U.S. officials described the wood as “sawn timber” and said Madagascar officials were “defrauded” by a local exporter about the nature of the product.

Gibson says the government is trying to “second guess” the Madagascar government. “The U.S. government’s startling position smacks of something from an Orwell novel,” Gibson said in a July 15 court filing in federal district court in Nashville.

One last detail of note: The article opens by observing that Gibson’s past alliances with left-wing enviro groups like Greenpeace didn’t stop the eco-nitwits from going after the company.

Here’s an article I found touting Gibson’s partnership with Greenpeace and other instrument makers to “green” their instruments.

There’ an object lesson here for other businesses small and large: Don’t delude yourself into thinking you can buy permanent immunity from Big Green or Big Government. You can’t.

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