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Update on the US government’s 2011 attack on Gibson Guitars.

To refresh your memory: the government decided that the Gibson Guitar company was in violation of Indian law (which, thanks to something called the Lacey Act, meant that they had the right to butt in), so they went and raided Gibson’s factory and confiscated a half-million dollars’ worth of raw materials. Happened back in August 2011, and guess what? The feds still haven’t pressed charges!

But have the feds returned the stuff that they took? Doesn’t look that way; also, don’t be absurd.

Reason TV did a video up on this story:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=V5IYGroW1nA

Bonus points for watching Environmental Investigation Agency flack Andrea Johnson gamely try to explain why the feds can multiply raid a company for supposed violations of federal law and confiscate assets… while not actually making any legal charges. For the record: when a private entity does that sort of thing, the technical term for the procedure is banditry (strictly speaking, it’s only piracy if it’s done on a vehicle of some sort). Also, for the record: given that the last time Andrea Johnson was used as a spokeswoman for the EIA she ended up accusing Gibson of conspiracy to violate international trade law (an accusation that she later had to hastily retract), you may want to find a more coherent public face for your organization.

Particularly since Senator Rand Paul – who has taken an interest in this case* – will probably not be in the minority party in the Senate starting next January…

Moe Lane (crosspost)

*Senator Paul has introduced the FOCUS Act, which will essentially end this abuse of the Lacey Act by removing all references to foreign law from the original act, as well as change the penalties assessed for legitimate violations of it from felonies to civil actions. How far this will get in a Democratic-controlled Senate is open for speculation, and is also an excellent reason for people concerned about government vendettas against businesses to go out and vote this November.

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