In August the Department of Justice raided Gibson Guitar facilities in Memphis and Nashville, alleging a violation of the so-called Lacey Act, a law which bans the importation of certain kinds of wildlife, plants and wood.
And although two months have passed, Gibson Guitars CEO Henry Juszkiewicz has taken an unusually aggressive posture against the DOJ. On Wednesday, 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.”
But he also cautioned that American jobs could be lost and sent overseas.
“You know, there’s a very real possibility we will have to move at least some processing [jobs] overseas,” Juszkiewicz said. “I’m trying to avoid that. But you know, I have to do what the business requires, and that’s a very realistic possibility.”
As for the aggressive response, Juszkiewicz explained he chose that strategy, over one that would involve less media exposure and more lawyers, because he was forced to.
“We had no choice,” Juszkiewicz said. “The things the Justice Department was doing was closing down our business and laying low was just not an option. Laying low would have meant really injuring our business significantly.” (RELATED: Issa subpoenas Justice Department over Fast and Furious)
The Justice Department has been under fire from California Republican Rep. Darrell Issa, who chairs the House oversight committee for the “Fast and Furious” scandal. But Juszkiewicz said there were reasons involving congressional ethics rules preventing members of Congress from acting on the company’s behalf in midst of an investigation.
“I think there will be more,” he said. “The issues the legislators are dealing with — is their ethics rules in terms of interfering with an investigation. Their predicament is if they get involved they may be accused of stepping over those ethics rules and advocating for a client in criminal proceedings which is a no-no. Most of them have been pretty shy about that and they’re more than willing to talk about law changes and where they don’t feel encumbered by the ethics ‘curtain,’ if you will. But you know, as I spend more time on it, the more interest there is in possible hearings.”
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