Gibson Sticks Thumb in Obama Administration's Eye with 'Government Series' Guitars

In 2011, the Department of Justice raided Gibson Guitar facilities in Memphis and Nashville, alleging a violation of the so-called Lacey Act, a law that bans the importation of certain kinds of wildlife, plants and wood.

At the time of the raid, Gibson Guitars CEO Henry Juszkiewicz told Hugh Hewitt on his radio show that the feds confiscated tonewood imported from India for the guitar Gibson manufacturers which would result in a cost of $2 to $3 million for his company.

At a great expense in legal fees and time, Juszkiewicz fought the federal government tooth and nail. But in August 2012, he settled with the Department of Justice by agreeing to pay a penalty of $300,000 and a $50,000 community service payment to the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation.

At the time, Breitbart News suggested that the federal government targeted Gibson because of the conservative ideological stance it had supported. But according to the Gibson Guitar website, the tonewood was returned and made into the Government Series II Les Paul guitars:

Great Gibson electric guitars have long been a means of fighting the establishment, so when the powers that be confiscated stocks of tonewoods from the Gibson factory in Nashville—only to return them once there was a resolution and the investigation ended—it was an event worth celebrating. Introducing the Government Series II Les Paul, a striking new guitar from Gibson USA for 2014 that suitably marks this infamous time in Gibson’s history.

Gibson’s line of those guitars start $1,099 and are topped by a pickguard hot-stamped in gold with the “Government Series” graphic, which is a bald eagle hoisting a Gibson guitar neck.

“Each Government Series II Les Paul also includes a genuine piece of Gibson USA history in its solid rosewood fingerboard, which is made from wood returned to Gibson by the US government after the resolution,” the website states.


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