August 25, 2011

Today's stupid bureaucrats are from Nashville, Tennessee

Hat tip to Og at Neanderpundit From The Tennessean:
Gibson Guitar plant in Nashville, Memphis raided today
Federal agents are in the process of raiding the offices of the Nashville-based Gibson Guitar Corporation.

U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and the U.S. Customs and Border Protection agents began executing search warrant this morning on guitar factories and corporate headquarters in Nashville and Memphis, according to Nicholas Chavez, special agent in charge with the Fish and Wildlife.

Chavez said the raid included both the corporate headquarters on Park Plus Boulevard and a factory on Elm Hill Pike.

The Memphis Commercial Appeal reported tourists arriving to a Gibson Guitar factory in downtown Memphis this morning to find the doors locked and agents inside.

No arrests have been made, he said.

Chavez said the raid stems from a Texas case, but declined to offer more details.

�We can�t get into specifics right now,� Chavez said. �This is an ongoing investigation.�

Gibson officials couldn�t immediately be reached for comment.

Gibson was also raided in 2009 for possible violations of the Lacey Act, which bans the importation of endangered plants and wildlife. Federal officials seized ebony and other woods they said were prohibited under the act. Gibson has said in the past it was "fully cooperating" with the investigation.
Sheesh -- nothing like killing jobs in an already depressed area. The "raided in 2009" link points to this article (excerpt):
Federal officials declined to say whether anything was removed from Gibson's plant or what specifically the agents were trying to find. But some exotic hardwoods traditionally used in making premium guitars, such as rosewood from the rain forests of Madagascar and Brazil, have been banned from commercial trade because of environmental concerns under a recently revised federal law.

Under the U.S. Lacey Act, trading in such banned woods is a federal offense, punishable by civil and criminal penalties or the seizure of property.

Environmental activists say the search of Gibson's plant took them by surprise because the company's top executive, CEO Henry Juszkiewicz, has taken a lead role for at least the past six years in urging the music industry to use only sustainable wood products.

"Historically, Gibson has shown an awful lot of leadership; they are really one of the manufacturers far ahead of the field," said Scott Paul, director of the forest campaign for Greenpeace, the international activist group.
So at the very worst, some supplier lied about the origins of the wood. At the very least, the Feds have no concrete data and are just fishing. Yet another Federal Department that needs to be seriously defunded. Fish and Wildlife does some excellent work but this is just pure and egregious overreach. Posted by DaveH at August 25, 2011 11:42 AM
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