Obama vs Gibson Guitar

A few weeks ago it would have been difficult to imagine that the Fish and Wildlife Service would raid a guitar factory looking for illegal wood.  If there is such a thing as forbidden wood, imported from overseas, then it's a matter that could be handled by a polite reprimand and a fine issued by a couple of overpaid federal nerds during normal business hours.  After all, those trees are already dead.  (And that's the thing about trees — they'll grow back.)

There is nothing to be gained by seizing the forbidden lumber and destroying it — unless the raid was executed for the purpose of heavy-handed intimidation of a group of people who didn't vote for Barack H. Obama, and a non-union company that relocated to a right-to-work state.  In that case, this story goes from stupid to sinister.

That's a really nice guitar factory you have.  It would be a shame if something bad happened to it.

Update:  The same situation is now being faced by Lumber Liquidators.



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Gibson Guitar "Government Series".  I somehow missed last year that Nashville's Gibson Guitar, target of a notoriously militarized regulatory raid by the U.S. government [...] has not let the matter be forgotten among its customers.  It has launched a product line called the Government Series II Les Paul, which "uses the wood that the Feds ultimately returned to Gibson after the resolution and the investigation was concluded."

Lumber Union Protectionists Incited SWAT Raid On My Factory, Says Gibson Guitar CEO.  While 30 men in SWAT attire dispatched from Homeland Security and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service cart away about half a million dollars of wood and guitars, seven armed agents interrogate an employee without benefit of a lawyer.  The next day Juszkiewicz receives a letter warning that he cannot touch any guitar left in the plant, under threat of being charged with a separate federal offense for each "violation," punishable by a jail term.  Up until that point Gibson had not received so much as a postcard telling the company it might be doing something wrong.

Striking the Wrong Chord.  Henry Juszkiewicz and Christian Martin run competing guitar-manufacturing companies, but their politics have nothing in common.  Juszkiewicz, CEO of the Tennessee-based Gibson Guitar, is a Republican who donates heavily to party candidates, including Mike Huckabee.  Martin, CEO of the Pennsylvania-based Martin Guitar, donates heavily to Democrats, including Barack Obama.  Despite their partisan differences, Juskiewicz and Martin have something in common — both of their companies import the same type of exotic wood to manufacture guitars.

Forgotten Scandal: Gibson Guitars Still Being Persecuted for Doing No Wrong.  In 2011, Gibson's Tennessee factories were raided for allegedly violating the Lacey Act, a federal statute that makes it a crime to import tropical hardwoods in violation of foreign law.  Imagine 30 heavily armed federal officers storming into your business, seizing your goods and providing no reason why.  A nightmare for any business — and a reality for Gibson Guitars.  "Our business has been injured to the tune of millions of dollars," Gibson chairman and CEO Henry Juszkiewicz told Heritage in 2011 after $1 million of ebony, rosewood, and finished guitars from the factories were seized.

Gibson CEO revives complaints over government raids.  The CEO of Gibson Guitars is reviving a claim that his company was unfairly targeted by the government, on the heels of the scandal over the IRS targeting of Tea Party groups.  Gibson boss Henry Juszkiewicz, who has donated in the past to Republicans, told Fox News on Wednesday [5/29/2013] he doesn't know whether a series of raids on his company were tied at all to his political leanings.  But he said "I clearly believe that someone targeted our company inappropriately."

Rep. Marsha Blackburn Wants Obama Admin to Explain Gibson Guitar Raid.  The 2011 raid of the Gibson Guitar plant is being seen in a new light thanks to recent scandals swirling around the Obama administration.  The company's CEO, Henry Juszkiewicz, is a conservative, and the raid involved armed federal agents entering the Memphis guitar plant in search of illegal wood.  Could the raid be part of the government's efforts to target and torment conservatives, already on display with the IRS's selective harassment of Tea Party groups?

Gibson Guitar and the Politics of Persecution.  By now it is well known that the Obama IRS has been persecuting individuals affiliated with the Tea Party and even religious organizations through audits, federal agency investigations and the denial of the right to form non-profit groups.  The Obama Justice Department, too, has engaged in unprecedented seizing of communication records of journalists, including Fox News's James Rosen, whom the administration has threatened with charges of "espionage."  With these details now made public, Gibson Guitar has good reason to believe the shocking raid of its facilities, which cost the company altogether millions of dollars, was also a warning to its Republican-supporting CEO Henry Juszkiewicz.

Gibson Guitar raids may be another case of Obama administration targeting.  The Internal Revenue Service's targeting of conservative groups puts the federal government's raids on Gibson Guitar Corp. in a new light, according to a recent Investor's Business Daily editorial.  The government has accused Gibson of obtaining wood that was illegal in India and Madagascar.  The government argues that this is a violation of the Lacey Act of 1900, which outlaws the use of plants and wildlife that have been taken or traded in violation of foreign law.

Does that Gibson Guitar raid make more sense now?  An editorial at Investors Business Daily may wind up being filed under how did I miss this one?  Following the recent revelations of cases where the administration appears to have used the muscle of the federal government to go after its political enemies, IBD takes a walk down memory lane to the strange case of Gibson Guitars and the federal raids on their facilities for alleged illegal importing of exotic woods used in their products.

Now The Gibson Guitar Raids Make Sense.  The inexplicable raid nearly two years ago on a guitar maker for using allegedly illegal wood that its competitors also used was another targeting by this administration of its political enemies.

More about the use of the IRS as a weapon.

Flashback: President Obama Targeted Gibson Guitars and Boeing on Ideological Grounds.  Even mainstream media outlets are running story upon story about President Barack Obama's possible ties to the government grabbing a wire service's phone records and the IRS bullying conservative groups.  Those who have been paying attention to the New Media shouldn't be surprised by these headlines.  In fact, here are two examples where the Obama administration appeared to use an ideological cudgel to bash both conservatives and free market principles.

A Closer Look at Gibson Guitar's Legal Troubles.  When the Department of Justice announced an agreement on Monday [8/13/2012] ending its criminal investigation of the Gibson Guitar Company over its handling of hardwoods imported from India and Madagascar, I sought a reaction from W. John Thomas, a law professor at Quinnipiac University.  Thomas has deep knowledge of the relevant law, the Lacey Act, as well as Gibson guitars, given that he has written a book on vintage Gibsons and performs on a variety of old Gibson models.

Gibson Guitar Corp. Strikes Deal with Justice Dept. to Avoid Prosecution.  Gibson Guitar Corp. agreed to settle charges that it illegally purchased and imported ebony wood from Madagascar and rosewood and ebony from India, the Justice Department said today [8/6/2012].  The company will pay a $300,000 fine under a criminal enforcement agreement that defers prosecution for criminal violations of the Lacey Act.  Another $50,000 fine will go to the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation "to be used to promote the conservation, identification and propagation of protected tree species used in the musical instrument industry and the forests where those species are found."

Congress Looks to Rewrite Act That Led to Gibson Guitar Raid.  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.  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.

Gibson Guitars, my favorite, harassed by feds.  Without question Gibson guitars are the finest, most revered guitars on the planet.  There is no finer sonic-producing weapon for a guitar slayer than a hand crafter Gibson masterpiece.  Gibson has been making the finest electric guitars the world has ever witnessed for over 70 years.  They are as American as God, guns and rock and roll.  Competition from other guitar manufacturers have never been unable to unseat Gibson from their electric guitar throne.  But Gibson has now possibly met its match from the most out-of-tune institution the world has ever known:  Fedzilla.

Gibson Guitar case drags on with no sign of criminal charges.  It was seven months ago that federal agents with guns drawn raided the Gibson guitar factories in Nashville and Memphis.  A half million dollars worth of Indian rosewood and ebony was seized under the premise that it had been imported illegally.  The feds also took a number of guitars and computer hard drives.  The factory was shut down for the day and employees told to go home.  Yet after all this time, the Department of Justice has shown no sign that it will file criminal charges against Gibson.

Gibson Guitars: Six Months Later.  Gibson was raided because of some wood imported from Madagascar in 2009, and again in August of 2011, this time pertaining to rosewood imported from India.  In either instance, the Government has yet to file charges.  The net cost to Gibson so far is several Million Dollars in confiscated materials, productive closures and lost sales.  Gibson of course wants her day in court.  Gibson has been denied due process and her right to a speedy trial.  Part of the reason Gibson has been denied her Fourth and Sixth Amendment rights is that the Obama Administration knew, even before going on this witch hunt, that they were wrong.

Apparently it was a SWAT raid for no reason other than intimidation.
Gibson Guitars still faces no charges, months after raid.  Back in August, the federal government's raid on Gibson Guitars made huge news.  The raid by armed agents was ostensibly conducted because Gibson was illegally using rare, restricted woods from India and Madagascar to make its guitars — even though nobody in India or Madagascar filed any complaints against them.

The Government and the Guitar Man.  On Aug. 24, federal agents descended on three factories and the Nashville corporate headquarters of the Gibson Guitar Corp. Accompanied by armored SWAT teams with automatic weapons, agents from the Fish and Wildlife Service swarmed the factories, threatening bewildered luthiers, or guitar craftsman, and other frightened employees.  A smaller horde invaded the office of CEO Henry Juszkiewicz, pawing through it all day while an armed man stood in the door to block his way.

Gibson Guitar CEO slams U.S. raids as "overreach".  Gibson Guitar Corp.'s chief slammed the U.S. government on Wednesday for sending armed agents to raid two Tennessee factories under a law aimed at curbing the illegal harvest of tropical hardwoods.

Gibson Guitar CEO warns that jobs may be sent overseas in aftermath of DOJ raid.  Although two months have passed, Gibson Guitars CEO Henry Juszkiewicz has taken an unusually aggressive posture against the DOJ.  On Wednesday [10/12/2011], he told The Daily Caller there could be casualties from the DOJ's actions, first of which he said may be higher guitar prices.  "It's a zero-sum game," he said.  "You don't create money out of thin air.  So a dollar goes to lawyers in Washington, D.C. is a dollar that comes out of our consumers' pockets, period."

Guns, Guitars and Government Raids.  In August, armed federal agents raided the offices and factories of the legendary Gibson Guitar Corp. in Nashville and Memphis.  It was the second time the feds had ransacked the renowned Tennessee guitar-maker since President Barack Obama took office.  And what were they going after?  Dirty laundering monies?  Gun smugglers?  Cocaine cargo that could make cartels quiver?  No.  The federal search and seizure sought to capture ... ready?  Wood.  To be exact, rosewood and ebony from India, which the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service had declared to be illegal to import.

500 turn out at rally supporting Gibson Guitar.  "If the government is going to target Gibson today, whose business are they going to raid tomorrow?" said Cookie Bowers, 64.  "We said, 'We've just got to go.'"  It was a sentiment echoed by others in the crowd of about 500 who turned out for Saturday afternoon's [10/8/2011] "We Stand With Gibson" rally, some carrying signs that read "Who's Next" and "When they come for you, who will be left to speak?"

Gibson Raid Leaves Other Guitar Makers at Risk.  Gibson facilities in Memphis and Nashville were raided by federal agents on August 24, leaving the company with an estimated loss of $2 to $3 million.  Gibson's alleged crime was a violation of the Lacey Act, a conservation law that aims to protect plants and wildlife from endangerment by enacting civil and criminal penalties for a throng of violations.  Gibson is being charged for allegedly importing wood from a foreign country in violation of a 2008 amendment to the law that makes it unlawful "to import certain plants and plant products without an import declaration."

Gibson: Feds 'lied' about CEO's wood statement.  A Gibson Guitar spokesman said Friday that a federal agent "lied" in an affidavit filed in federal court that claims the company's outspoken CEO was aware that wood seized by authorities was illegally imported.

The Gibson Raid: Much to Fret About.  With military precision, the federal officers surrounded the building, donned flak jackets and helmets, readied their weapons, burst in, and forced terrified employees out at gunpoint.  Officers ransacked the facility, seizing computers, papers, and materials.  It was the second raid in three years by the Fish and Wildlife Service on Gibson, maker of the famous Les Paul guitar.  The situation would be laughable, if the consequences for Gibson weren't so dire.

Feds to Gibson: Hand over more wood.  Federal authorities are pressuring Nashville-based Gibson Guitar to hand over an additional 25 bundles of Indian wood that the company allegedly planned to use in its famous guitars.

Gibson Guitar becomes cause celebre for conservatives.  The feds were after contraband in Gibson's Tennessee factories that day — ebony and rosewood they suspected was illegally imported from India.  But their actions against the company whose guitars have been strummed by B.B. King, Bob Dylan and John Lennon netted some unanticipated results:  infamy on talk radio and from commentators on the right.  Weeks later, the raid has generated publicity worthy of a rock concert.

Feds Still Mum on Reason for Gibson Raids.  Federal officials have shed a little light on last month's raid of Gibson Guitar Corp. facilities in Memphis and Nashville — without really revealing much at all.

With Gibson, Obama 'actively discouraging' jobs.  Three House Republicans sent a letter yesterday [9/8/2011] to Attorney General Eric Holder, Interior Secretary Ken Salazar, and U.S. Fish and Wildlife Services Director Daniel Ashe challenging two raids on a Gibson Guitar Corporation factory by federal agents. ... The Department of Justice is reportedly investigating whether Gibson violated Indian export laws by importing "sawn wood" for their guitars, which in turn would violate the U.S. Lacey Act of 1900.

Gibson Guitars.  So many great musicians, both well-known and unknown, have played those great Gibson guitars over the years.  From Chet Atkins to B.B. King to Roy Orbison to Jimmy Page to Slash — the list seems almost endless.

Gibson CEO to face feds.  U.S. Justice Department officials have requested a meeting with Gibson Guitar owners next week, while in Congress lawmakers continue to ask why the factories and offices of the longtime manufacturer of prized guitars were raided on Aug. 24.  Gibson CEO Henry Juszkiewicz said he will meet with federal officials in Nashville on Wednesday to discuss the raids.  Juszkiewicz said he is unsure where the conversation will lead.

Embattled Guitar Exec to Attend Obama's Speech.  [Henry] Juszkiewicz has vocally defended Gibson's practices and denied the allegations.  "There's no doubt we're being persecuted," he said in an interview with the Tennessean.  "But while I was sitting in my conference room, while agents blocked the door to my office, I decided two things.  One, we were going to try and fight this in court.  Secondly, we were going to give this issue visibility."

Gibson goes on the offensive.  Eleven days ago, Gibson Guitar CEO Henry Juszkiewicz was getting ready for work when he got a phone call at home from his assistant, whose voice sounded panicky.  Half a dozen armed federal agents with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service were searching the Gibson executive suite.  Two of the company's South Nashville guitar factories also had just been raided, along with one in Memphis.  By the time Juszkiewicz reached his office, agents were forensically imaging his computer and carting out boxes of paperwork and company hard drives.

The Guitar Police.  The making of electric guitars frequently involves the use of various exotic hardwoods.  This raises some environmental concerns.  In 2009, the DOJ, armed with automatic weapons, raided Gibson and seized significant quantities of the company's wood.  Nearly two years later, no charges have yet been filed related to the initial raid.  However, environmental concerns are only a tangential matter for the guitar police.

Gibson: Feds Want Guitar Woodwork Done by Foreign Labor.  Gibson Guitar Corp. is claiming the Obama administration wants more of its woodwork done overseas, as a bizarre battle heats up between the government and one of the country's most renowned guitar makers.

Eco-zealous feds target Gibson guitars, antique piano sellers.  US Fish and Wildlife officials have raided the famous Gibson Guitars.  And the instrument-maker isn't alone.  Antique piano dealers are also in the crosshairs.  Why?  Because rare, beautiful instruments made of ecologically incorrect materials must be sacrificed at the green altar.

Environmental Enforcement Leaves Musicians in Fear.  Federal agents swooped in on Gibson Guitar Wednesday [8/24/2011], raiding factories and offices in Memphis and Nashville, seizing several pallets of wood, electronic files and guitars.  The Feds are keeping mum, but in a statement yesterday Gibson's chairman and CEO, Henry Juszkiewicz, defended his company's manufacturing policies, accusing the Justice Department of bullying the company.  "The wood the government seized Wednesday is from a Forest Stewardship Council certified supplier," he said, suggesting the Feds are using the aggressive enforcement of overly broad laws to make the company cry uncle.

Will the Music World Protest Against Feds Eco-Zealous Raid On Gibson Guitar?  Does this sudden interest from the Feds have more to do with the fact that Gibson is non-union and relocated to Tennessee, a right to work state?

Fretting Over Foreign Laws.  Now the Internet is reverberating with a mean blues riff about how the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service over the last two years has twice raided Gibson factories in Tennessee.  The federal blue meanies have decided that the iconic guitar maker may be violating the century-old Lacey Act, which outlaws trafficking in flora and fauna whose harvesting has broken foreign laws.

The Gibson Guitar Saga Gets Steadily Curiouser.  It has come out that [Gibson CEO] Juszkiewicz is a Republican donor, while the CEO of one of his principal competitors, C.F. Martin & Company, is a Democratic donor.  Martin reportedly uses the same wood, but DOJ hasn't raided them, leading to speculation that the Obama administration is sending a warning to Republican businessmen that they had better not oppose his re-election, lest they face criminal investigations.  Normally such speculation would not be credible, but Eric Holder has politicized the Department of Justice to a point where such questions must be taken seriously.

Gibson Guitar CEO: Feds Are Out to Get Us.  Juszkiewicz says that 20 heavily armed officers from the Fish and Wildlife Service and Homeland Security stormed his factories.  Since when do we heavily arm officers from the Fish and Wildlife Service?  Juszkiewicz also explains how Gibson guitar owners must fill out multiple forms of paperwork to prove the material used to build the guitar is legal.  Yes, the federal government is now worried about unregistered guitars floating around in the market place.

Feds Raid Gibson Guitar to Save Endangered Foreign Trees.  At approximately 8:45 a.m. on August 24, federal agents raided Gibson Guitar Corporation facilities in Nashville and Memphis, making off with an estimated $1 million worth of Gibson property.  Gibson's alleged crime?  Using imported wood from endangered trees.  At least that's what the company assumes the feds have in mind.  Gibson hasn't actually been notified of any charges against the company.  In fact, according to a Gibson press release, they still haven't been told on what charges "more than a dozen agents with automatic weapons" raided their factory and stole their property in November 2009.

Obama's Creepy Agency Creep.  Why is the US Wildlife and Fisheries raiding Gibson Guitar, the SEC examining hydraulic fracturing fluids, NASA seeking to build bridges with Muslims, and the Department of Education attacking Rick Perry?

Obama Admin Enforcing Non-Existent Madagascar Law.  The Gibson Guitar company must not be unionized.  If they were, the Obama administration wouldn't be coming down on them for importing wood from Madagascar.  There's no business safe from these people.

Gibson Guitar Busted By Feds ... Just Because.  Being a carpenter, woodworker and sometimes wood carver, I consider myself a connoisseur of fine wood.  It didn't say in the article, but I'm thinking the wood seized was Indian Rosewood and/or Satinwood.  Both are highly figured woods that look spectacular on the front of a guitar or any piece of furniture for that matter.  And all this wood was confiscated because of some obscure law, the Lacey Act which has to do with violations of foreign laws only.  Gibson has steadfastly proclaimed their innocence and said they've followed all laws of the US and any foreign countries where they obtain their lumber from.

Michelle Obama's Gibson guitar gift.  Last week's DOJ raid on two Gibson Guitar facilities in Tennessee has generated justifiable anger.  The Justice Department confiscated $1 million worth of Gibson property (pallets of wood, electronic files, guitars and the like), but failed to inform the company why.  The raid represents a repeat performance, too:  Federal regulators pulled the same stunt on the storied manufacturer in 2009.

Gibson Guitars CEO on DOJ bullies.  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.

Obama Administration Raids Gibson Guitars.  Gibson, the storied maker of the Les Paul electric and iconic instruments like the ES-150 jazz guitar played by Charlie Christian, has been a leader in corporate responsibility on ethically sourced hardwoods.  The company's chairman and CEO, Henry Juszkiewicz, issued a strongly worded statement defending his company's manufacturing policies.  "The wood the government seized Wednesday is from a Forest Stewardship Council certified supplier," he said.

Gibson Guitar vs. The Obama Regime.  It is just coincidental that Gibson Guitar Chairman and CEO Henry Juszkiewicz has been a donator to Republican candidates and not to Barack Obama's election or now his reelection.  Mr. Juszkiewicz was informed by the government that they would drop all the charges against his company and return the property that was seized if he moved his production plants to Madagascar.  That means 500 American jobs destroyed and lost to an overseas company.  Thus we witness Obama's jobs program in true action.

Gibson CEO: Feds Demanded Foreign Labor.  The federal government seized wood, guitars and electronic records from Gibson's Nashville warehouses in 2009 and again last week.  According to Juszkiewicz, that's when the Feds made an unusual request from the American manufacturer.  On KMJ airwaves, [Henry] Juszkiewicz revealed that representatives of the US government told Gibson that their legal issues would "disappear" if they used Madagascar labor instead of American labor.

Obama's minions spring into action.
Environmental, industry groups push back against Gibson Guitar.  A coalition of environmental groups and wood product companies is launching a public relations counteroffensive against what they describe as misinformation promoted by Gibson Guitar.  The groups want to protect the Lacey Act, which Gibson is under investigation for possibly violating.  Gibson, led by its CEO Henry Juszkiewicz, has decried the government investigation as bullying and harassment.

Gibson raid part of effort to extinguish American workforce, outsource jobs.  Gibson's CEO Henry Juszkiewicz has openly announced that the US government actually advised him in a pleading that if he simply were to move his workforce to Madagascar, he could avoid his current quandary entirely.  This shocking, written admission by government agents, which was expounded upon by Juszkiewicz himself during a recent interview on KMJ AM's The Chris Daniel Show, clearly illustrates what the federal government is up to these days.  By targeting a US-based company with a US-based labor force — which is an amazing rarity in today's globalized world, by the way — for no legitimate or legal reason, it is obvious that an ulterior motive is at work.

The Government Grinches That Stole Christmas.  The Little Drummer Boy had to be thankful that he did not meet the same fate as his buddies in the guitar business.  The iconic American instrument company was raided by Feds who accused the company of selling "illegal wood" that it had legally obtained.  The final sour note:  the government basically acknowledged the company would have an easier time manufacturing its products overseas.

CEO of Gibson Guitars' Main Competitor is a Huge Democrat Donor.  Like almost all of the actions of the Holder Justice Department, the raid was likely motivated by political considerations.


Lumber Liquidators

Stock tumbles after raid of Lumber Liquidators.  Federal investigators raided the offices of Lumber Liquidators on Thursday [9/26/2013], the company and authorities said.  Stocks of the hardwood flooring retailer fell sharply on Friday as the news emerged, dropping just over 10% at midday.

Lumber Liquidators Dives After Gov't Raid On Its HQ.  Lumber Liquidators (LL) plunged Friday after federal officials raided the hardwood flooring retailer's Toano, Va., headquarters as part of a probe into possible illegal imports.  But management told one analyst the company doesn't know why it's been targeted.  The Department of Homeland Security, along with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, executed a sealed court-issued search warrant on Thursday at its Toano, Va., headquarters and at a Richmond, Va., store.

The Editor says...
I suspect that a follow-up story will reveal that the raid was motivated by the political affiliations of the company's owners, and that it has nothing to do with fish or wildlife.

Homeland Security Documents Found in Target Parking Lot.  [Scroll down]  But that's not all NBC 12 uncovered.  The station's anonymous source known as "Eric" explained how he discovered documents pertaining to the plan.  ["]He says he found Homeland Security's Operation Plan in the parking lot of the Target on West Broad Street.["]

Federal Authorities Raid Lumber Liquidators Headquarters.  Federal authorities want to know where all that cheap wood at Lumber Liquidators comes from.  On Thursday, the discount hardwood flooring retailer's headquarters in Toano, Va., and another location in Richmond were raided by special agents from the Immigration and Customs Enforcement's Homeland Security Investigations unit, together with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and the Justice Department.  The agents were looking for evidence the company had imported wood products from forests in far eastern Russian that are home to the endangered Siberian tiger, a person familiar with the matter said.

Lumber Liquidators Import Probe Follows Gibson Guitar.  Although details were initially sketchy, Lumber Liquidators' stock price plunged as much as 10% early Friday after a reported raid by federal investigators on its headquarters related to a probe of illegal imports.  In a statement, the top flooring retailer with more than 300 stores nationwide, said it would provide to investigators information and documents related to the import of certain products.  The Department of Homeland Security, along with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and Department of Justice conducted the raid, acting under a sealed court-issued warrant.

Lumber Liquidators watches its stock tumble after government raid.  Investor's Business Daily reported that the raid was part of a probe into possible illegal imports. The company said they don't know why they've been targeted.  The Department of Homeland Security and the U.S. Fish and Wildelife Service executed a sealed court-issued search warrant on Thursday at the headquarters and also at one of the stores in Richmond, Virginia.

Aha!
Another Republican-Supporting Business Raided.  Thursday, Federal agents raided Lumber Liquidators.  Lumber Liquidators advertises heavily on The Rush Limbaugh Show and even put in the flooring for one of Rush's studios.

Gibson Exercises Property Rights, Sense of Humor.  The Gibson guitar company, having had its federally seized wood returned to it, is celebrating with the release of a new product made from that very wood:  the Les Paul Government II Series.

Gibson Sticks Thumb in Obama Administration's Eye with 'Government Series' Guitars.  At the time of the raid, Gibson Guitars CEO Henry Juszkiewicz told Hugh Hewitt on his radio show that the feds confiscated tonewood imported from India for the guitar Gibson manufacturers which would result in a cost of $2 to $3 million for his company.  At a great expense in legal fees and time, Juszkiewicz fought the federal government tooth and nail.  But in August 2012, he settled with the Department of Justice by agreeing to pay a penalty of $300,000 and a $50,000 community service payment to the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation.

What Gibson Guitars Did with the Wood the Government Returned.  The issue at hand was not that the wood was endangered or illegally harvested, but that it was not of the proper thickness that would have meant that some labor had been performed on it by workers in India and Madagascar.  This was the law in Madagascar and India as a nod to the unions in those countries. [...] What raised many eyebrows about this governmental action was that the countries involved, India and Madagascar, indicated that they were not interested in pursuing the matter when contacted by the Department of Justice.  Also, even if Gibson had been guilty, this would have been a civil, not a criminal matter.

Gibson guitars made with seized wood sold out.  What does a company do when it retrieves government-confiscated building materials?  If that company is Gibson Guitar Corp., it makes guitars from it.  Late last year, the 120-year-old Nashville music company released a limited series of Les Paul, Explorer, SG and Flying V six-string guitars with fingerboards made from wood that federal agents had seized in factory raids.


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