Crowell & Moring on Tuesday notified Congress it is lobbying for a storied Nashville, Tenn.-based guitar maker that is under investigation by the U.S. Justice Department for a potential violation of environmental law.
According to a lobbying registration form, the firm is advocating for Gibson Guitar Corp. on the Lacey Act, which prohibits the import of wood, plants and wildlife that were obtained, sold or transported in violation of foreign laws. Federal authorities in August raided Gibson facilities, seizing Indian wood used to make guitars. But the DOJ has yet to decide whether to bring charges under the Lacey Act against the company, according to court papers filed this month.
Policy adviser Stephanie Daigle, who is among the six Crowell lobbyists handling the account, didn’t have an immediate comment. A Gibson spokesman didn’t immediately respond to requests for comment.
The guitar maker has maintained that it didn’t do anything wrong when it imported the wood that federal agents took from its facilities in Nashville and Memphis, Tenn., in August. Gibson has said the wood met the standards of the Forest Stewardship Council, a non-profit organization that advocates for responsible forest management.
“Gibson is innocent and will fight to protect its rights,” Gibson CEO Henry Juszkiewicz said in a statement following the raid. "Gibson has complied with foreign laws and believes it is innocent of ANY wrong doing.”
The August raid was the second time federal authorities seized wood from Gibson facilities. In 2009, agents took Madagascar wood from the company.
The DOJ hasn’t filed charges stemming from that raid.