In 2011, the Gibson Guitar Corp was raided by federal agents from the Justice Department because of some of the wood they used to make guitars. They were charged with violating the Lacey Act of 1900 by importing illegal woods from India and Madagascar.
Officials at Gibson Guitar provided documentation that proved that their wood from India had been obtained using a Forest Stewardship Council-certified supplier. They also provided documentation showing that the Madagascar wood in question was not obtained illegally in Madagascar.
Furthermore, Gibson officials pointed that many other guitar makers imported and used the very same woods they did and none of them were being harassed by the federal government. CF Martin & Co, makers of some of the finest guitars in the land, also imports the same East Indian Rosewood that Gibson does.
However, the feds never relented and in August of 2012, Gibson settled with the Department of Justice by paying a $300,000 fine and another $50,000 community service payment to the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation.
So why was Gibson Guitar targeted and Martin not? A recent report from the Investor’s Business Daily indicated that the reason could be linked to the IRS targeting of conservatives. It turns out that the executives at Gibson donated heavily to the GOP campaigns and the executives at Martin contributed to Democratic campaigns. The report stated:
“Grossly underreported at the time was the fact that Gibson’s chief executive, Henry Juszkiewicz, contributed to Republican politicians. Recent donations have included $2,000 to Rep. Marsha Blackburn, R-Tenn., and $1,500 to Sen. Lamar Alexander, R-Tenn.”
“By contrast, Chris Martin IV, the Martin & Co. CEO, is a long-time Democratic supporter, with $35,400 in contributions to Democratic candidates and the Democratic National Committee over the past couple of election cycles.”
“The Gibson Guitar raid, the IRS intimidation of Tea Party groups and the fraudulently obtained warrant naming Fox News reporter James Rosen as an ‘aider, abettor, co-conspirator’ in stealing government secrets are but a few examples of the abuse of power by the Obama administration to intimidate those on its enemies list.”
Let’s not forget that the EPA is also being accused of illegally targeting conservative groups. The IRS has not only targeted Tea Party groups, but have also targeted pro-life organizations and conducted improper audits of many conservatives and people who donated to the GOP and the Romney campaign.
One last note that just came to mind, the same Justice Department that targeted Gibson Guitars for donating to Republicans refused to prosecute members of the New Black Panthers for voter intimidation in the 2008 election. Their actions were caught on tape and charges were filed, but Eric Holder, most likely under the direction of the White House, dropped all charges and let them go free. Incidentally, they repeated their voter intimidation in 2012, but no charges were even filed this time. You wouldn’t think this would have anything to do with the fact that Obama marched with the New Black Panthers in 2007 in Selma, Alabama, do you?