The Department of Justice led by Attorney General Eric Holder has found itself at odds with several companies with top GOP donors or friends as executives, leading many to question whether the Obama administration could be using the department through prosecutorial discretion to play politics.
It was announced on Monday that the Justice Department had come to an agreement with Gibson Guitar Corp., as federal prosecutors agreed to drop a criminal case against the instrument maker for violating environmental laws. In return Gibson agreed to pay a $300,000 penalty, contribute $50,000 to the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation, and forfeit claims to nearly $262,000 worth of endangered exotic wood to cooperate with the Lacey Act. The Christian Science Monitor reports that Gibson CEO Henry Juszkiewicz has joined Republicans and tea party members in criticizing such excessive federal regulation as an obstacle to creating and sustaining American jobs.
"We feel that Gibson was inappropriately targeted, and a matter that could have been addressed with a simple contact a caring human being representing the government," Juszkiewicz said in his statement. "Instead, the Government used violent and hostile means with the full force of the US Government and several armed law enforcement agencies costing the tax payer millions of dollars and putting a job creating US manufacture at risk and at a competitive disadvantage."
The Justice Department had carried out two armed raids in three years at the Nashville Gibson guitar factory over the importation of ebony and other exotic woods from Madagascar and India.
In addition to the folks at Gibson, well-known GOP mega-donor Sheldon Adelson has become a target for the Justice Department, as his Las Vegas Sands Corp. is reportedly under investigation for breaking federal law by failing to report millions of dollars of potentially laundered money transferred to its casinos by two high-rolling Las Vegas gamblers. According to the Wall Street Journal, the U.S. attorney's office in Los Angeles is investigating how the casino handled money from a customer later indicted on drug trafficking charges and a former California executive subsequently convicted of taking illegal kickbacks. A company spokesman told the Journal that the Sands is working with federal investigators and “the company believes it has acted properly and has not committed any wrongdoing."
As the Obama administration has chosen to “not enforce” so many notable laws, the Sands investigation and zeal in defending the obscure environmental act possibly violated by Gibson has raised concerns about political partisanship interfering with the work of the Justice Department.
Watch a clip below from Tuesday's "Real News From The Blaze" where the panel discusses the Gibson and Adelson cases, in addition to possible misconduct within the Department of Justice: