CEO of Gibson Guitar a Republican donor; Democrat competitor uses same wood By ANDREW LAWTON - Fri Aug 26, 1:17 pm On Thursday, the iconic Gibson Guitar Corporation issued a press release (http://www.gibson.com/absolutenm/templates/FeatureTemplatePressRelease.aspx?articleid=1340&zoneid=6) stating that government officials raided their Tennessee manufacturing facility over warrants concerning the legality of the importation of wood purchased from India that they use in their world famous guitars. The woodâwhich is certified and regulated by the Forest Stewardship Councilâis not illegal, but rather subject to a domestic law in India frowns upon the processing of this wood by non-Indians. (Gibson uses American labor for the processing.) Gibsonâs press release claims that, while this incident marks the second raid of their facility in around two years, this is the first of the raids to cost the company time and resources, as they needed to shut down operations. It seems as though this was all for naught. The release read: The fact that the government would issue warrants based on their interpretation of another countryâs laws is laughableâand scaryâin and of itself, but that they would demonize an American, non-unionized (coincidentally, Iâm sure) company for something that isnât even a crime (especially not in the American lawbooks) is a gross misjustice. Keep in mind that the Indian government itself wasnât involved in the Gibson warrants and raid. This unfortunate event begs the question, Why Gibson? Putting aside the presumably misguided motivation to enforce another sovereign nationâs laws, why would a homegrown American company be the target of the Department of Justice in the first place? Itâs worth pointing out that Henry E. Juszkiewicz, Gibsonâs Chief Executive Officer, is a donor to a couple of Republican politicians. According to the Open Secrets database, Juszkiewicz donated $2000 to Rep. Marsha Blackburn (R-TN07) last year, as well as $1500 to Sen. Lamar Alexander (R-TN). Juszkiewicz also has donated $10,000 to the Consumer Electronics Association, a PAC that contributed $92.5k to Republican candidates last year, as opposed to $72k to Democrats. (The CEA did, however, contribute more to Democrats in the 2008 election cycle.) When warrants as ridiculous such as these are issued and executed, there appears no other reason than because the company or individual at hand is being targeted, not because there is any sort of wrongdoing. As a company, Gibson is a legendary. Theyâve done nothing wrong, except, apparently, deigning to have a Republican CEO. The plot thickens, however. One of Gibsonâs leading competitors is C.F. Martin & Company. The C.E.O., Chris Martin IV, is a long-time Democratic supporter, with $35,400 in contributions to Democratic candidates and the DNC over the past couple of election cycles. According to C.F. Martinâs catalog, several of their guitars contain âEast Indian Rosewood.â In case you were wondering, that is the exact same wood in at least ten of Gibsonâs guitars. The Gibson facility wasnât raided over allegations of tax evasion, charges of embezzlement, or even something as drab as child labor. Not even close. It was raided over what the DOJ deems an inability to follow a vague domestic trade law in India (one that apparently the Indian government didnât seem too concerned about enforcing) regarding a specific type of wood. Not illegal wood, just wood with obscenely specific procedural guidelines. Stand with Gibson: They have the Law on their side, just not the government.