Tales of the #Thugocracy: Oh, so that’s why they raided Gibson Guitar

May 26, 2013
"Nice business you got here..."

“Nice business you got here…”

You might recall a bizarre federal raid on legendary guitar manufacturer Gibson Guitar back in 2011: they were accused of importing illegally harvested wood from India and Madagascar under a century-old law. The feds showed up with automatic weapons, seized “evidence,” and generally disrupted operations to Gibson’s great cost. After all that, no criminal charges were filed, but Gibson had to agree to pay a $300,000 fine and toss $50,000 to an environmental group as penance for being “careless.”

Weird, right? Why all this attention to Gibson, when rival Martin & Co. used the very same “illegal” wood, yet wasn’t raided?

And, just like that, a light goes on:

Grossly underreported at the time was the fact that Gibson’s chief executive, Henry Juszkiewicz, contributed to Republican politicians. Recent donations have included $2,000 to Rep. Marsha Blackburn, R-Tenn., and $1,500 to Sen. Lamar Alexander, R-Tenn.

By contrast, Chris Martin IV, the Martin & Co. CEO, is a long-time Democratic supporter, with $35,400 in contributions to Democratic candidates and the Democratic National Committee over the past couple of election cycles.

What would have seemed like a crazy conspiracy theory straight out of the fever swamps just a year ago now looks all too plausible, after the IRS scandal and the news that the Obama people had been targeting conservatives since 2008.

The message here to Mr. Juszkiewicz and people like him is crystal clear: “Thinking about making a political donation? Maybe you should think again.

“First Amendment?” What’s that?

(Crossposted at Sister Toldjah)

Advertisements

The #IRS should just go ahead and change its name to “The Spanish Inquisition”

May 26, 2013
"Confess the sin of conservatism! Confess!!"

“Confess the sin of conservatism! Confess!!”

Because no one expects them, least of all poor Justin Binik-Thomas, an Ohio educator specifically named in IRS “follow-up questions” to an Ohio Tea Party group he had no affiliation with:

At the height of its campaign against President Barack Obama’s opponents, the Internal Revenue Service (IRS), in its audit of an Ohio tea party group, demanded information and materials related to a local Ohio adult education program as well as personal information about a man named Justin Binik-Thomas.

Now Justin Binik-Thomas and the adult educational program, neither of whom have any links to the tea party group, are worried.

The infamous IRS Cincinnati office, which oversaw tax-exempt nonprofit organizations., requested additional information from the Liberty Township Tea Party in a letter dated March 1, 2011.

“Included in that list was question number 26, which said, ‘please explain your relationship with Justin Binik-Thomas,’” Binik-Thomas told The Daily Caller. “That was concerning to me, considering I was not involved with that group.”

“I was involved in the Cincinnati tea party, about 30 miles south, as a spokesman” said Binik-Thomas, who works as a contract manager and has a small media relations business on the side. “There are literally tens of thousands of people involved with the tea party in some way. Why was I called out by name?”

The IRS also demanded, in its Question #25 for the Liberty Township Tea Party, one question before asking about Binik-Thomas, that the group hand over any training materials provided by the organization EmpowerU.

EmpowerU is a community education program that offers courses in scary things like cake decorating, marketing via social media, and lowering your taxes (1). Binik-Thomas does teach for them, but, again, neither of them have anything to do with the Liberty Township Tea Party.

Maybe, as Good Citizens(tm), they were supposed to report any rumors they heard. Or just make stuff up.

As you can imagine, being singled out like this by a powerful government agency can be a bit… “worrisome,” shall we say? Who else has been asked about Justin Binik-Thomas, and why is the IRS focused on him, anyway? How many others have been specified by name, and how does any of this have anything to do with an application for tax-exempt status? Should they be hiring lawyers?

I’m telling ya, Obama and the IRS have done more for the cause of tax reform and limited government than all the conservative groups of the last 20 years, combined.

Footnote:
(1) I’ll bet it was that last one that got them on “the list,” or maybe that subversive course on “The Constitution for Kids.”

(Crossposted at Sister Toldjah)