Federal Raid on Gibson Signals U.S. Is Not Open for Business and Obama Is Not Serious About Jobs
On Aug. 24, federal agents descended on three factories and the Nashville corporate headquarters of the Gibson Guitar Corp. Accompanied by armored SWAT teams with automatic weapons, agents from the Fish and Wildlife Service swarmed the factories, threatening bewildered luthiers, or guitar craftsman, and other frightened employees. A smaller horde invaded the office of CEO Henry Juszkiewicz, pawing through it all day while an armed man stood in the door to block his way.
The incident attracted national attention and outrage. Like Boeing—whose plans to locate new production in South Carolina are opposed by the National Labor Relations Board—here was an iconic American brand under seemingly senseless federal fire. The fact that Gibson was singled out when other guitar makers use the same woods has fed speculation that the company was targeted—because it is not unionized, perhaps, or didn't donate enough to the Democratic Party.
"I don't think it's a political issue," Mr. Juszkiewicz says, shaking his head. "But I will say this: I wrote a letter to President Obama. I spelled out what happened. I said: You know, we got raided and here are the facts, I think it's unfair. What do you think we should do? No response."
Maybe the president is not a music lover? "He knows who we are," Mr. Juszkiewicz says. "His daughters have a couple of Gibsons. [Mrs. Obama] gave a guitar to [the French president's singer-songwriter wife] Mrs. Sarkozy. And we called up to make sure that he saw the letter, and he did. No response."