Lawmakers are reviewing legislation to amend a century-old law that led to a raid by armed federal agents at the Gibson Guitar Company in August 2011 at its Nashville and Memphis factories and, in a separate case, to the imprisonment of two Americans for importing improperly packaged lobsters.Screw the environmentalists. The punishment against Gibson was likely motivated more by the fact that Gibson is a non-union shop than by some twisted environmental purpose. Gibson's biggest rival is a union shop and big supporter of Obama.
Critics of the Lacey Act say it is being used to enforce laws of foreign governments that most Americans are not aware of, and that it is too broad and too vague to carry harsh criminal penalties.
“That really smacks at our sovereignty,” Sen. Rand Paul (R –Ky.) told the House Resources subcommittee on fisheries, wildlife, oceans and insular affairs. “How can this possibly be constitutional?” asked Paul, who is sponsoring the Senate version of the Freedom from Over-Criminalization and Unjust Seizures Act (FOCUS) with Rep. Paul Broun (R-Ga.). The measure would strip language requiring Americans to comply with foreign laws and repeal criminal penalties...
Federal agents confiscated a half-million dollars worth of property from Gibson Guitar in the August raid, including guitars and computers. The company did not import banned wood products, but is accused of violating a law in India that requires the wood product be finished by workers in that country before it can be exported. The Department of Justice has yet to file any charges. In a civil case, Gibson is attempting to get its wood back....
Democrats said they opposed amending the law for fear that it would also lift a ban on importing wood that was illegally cut. A spokeswoman for big furniture retailer IKEA, Laurie Everill, told the panel that the only way the proposed bills will carry any credibility is with the endorsement of environmental groups, which is unlikely at this point.
Gibson acted in faith with their wood imports, complying with all U.S. laws and permit requirements. And here's where Romney could score some easy points - promise to immediately return all of Gibson's wood products to the company within a week of assuming office. Gibson is an iconic American success story that hires lots of American workers and puts out a product that's desired among musicians around the world. They should be applauded, not raided.
Romney should stop by the Gibson factory and make the promise. It would make for a great commercial and would play well with businesses all over the country that fear such capricious legislation.