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Still some questions on Lacey settlement

August 16, 2012

Fans of limited government, this was your year. According to USA Today, the 112th Congress was the least productive in the post-World War II era.

And under a Democratic president no less. We may be looking at a trend, according to a December article from the Washington Post.

I love history. Specifically U.S. history. I just wrapped up reading about the 1828 elections, my second venture through this period. America elected Andrew Jackson over John Quincy Adams - the first appearance of the red fox Martin Van Buren's machine - by a pretty significant mandate, 647,246 to 508,604.

Most Americans thought the once legendary secretary of state Adams was an aristocrat, while the slave owning military hero, Indian hunter and frontiersman Jackson was more of a people's candidate.

Adams has been described as a cold intellectual visionary, a type that doesn't typically fare well in the presidency. Much like his father, he made several missteps while in office.

The disgraced Adams left for home, not knowing he would make up for them later with a superb record in the House of Representatives.

America was then transforming from its sleepy agricultural beginnings to a more industrial nation with its eye ever westward and as a whole related more to Jackson than Adams, as far as perception goes.

This year's unproductive session is just a symptom of the upcoming presidential election, but if you remember, the amendments to the Lacey Act were passed in former President George W. Bush's last year.

Believe it or not, the Dow Jones Industrial average is higher now than it was then.

Among the actions stymied by the limited approach of Congress was H.R. 3210, which sought to ease some of the illegal logging amendments passed in 2008. It didn't come up for a floor vote.

Also, the U.S. Department of Justice put a bow on Gibson Guitar's Lacey raid violations by deferring prosecution and settling the case.

What didn't get much press is some of the wording in the settlement. The DOJ appeared to indicate that in regards to the legality of fingerboard blanks from India, the government might not have had too strong a case.

The DOJ didn't take action on those imports and said it would seek clarifications on questionable tariff classifications from India in the future.

The raids on Gibson's Tennessee facilities were perceived as very harsh. The question some are wondering is: In the future, will the DOJ work with other nations to clarify the legality of wood violations instead of taking a hard line approach to violators?