PoliticalNews.me - May 10,2012 - Sen. Paul Testifies in House Hearing on FOCUS Act
Companion legislation to Sen. Paulís bill is brought before a House Natural Resources subcommittee
WASHINGTON, D.C - Sen. Rand Paul testified at the U.S. House of Representatives Natural Resources Subcommittee on Fisheries, Wildlife, Oceans and Insular Affairs Subcommittee hearing regarding the Freedom from Over-Criminalization and Unjust Seizures Act of 2012 - or FOCUS Act, which was introduced in the House by Rep. Paul Broun (R-Ga.). Earlier this year, Sen. Paul introduced the FOCUS Act in the Senate. This legislation aims to amend the Lacey Act, a law that currently allows the federal government to apply foreign law to American citizens and businesses. Below is the transcript of the hearing.
Thank you Chairman Fleming, and thank you for inviting me over here to talk about this important issue.
When I first heard about the raid at Gibson Guitars I was appalled that this could happen in the United States of America; That we would send in federal agents from Fish and Wildlife [Services] with automatic weapons to invade a company that hires 2,800 people around our country.
These are law-abiding people that are making guitars. There are no grizzly bears in downtown Nashville or in Gibson Guitar that we need to be concerned with. I was aghast when I learned that what they were accused of was not breaking a U.S. law. They were accused of breaking a foreign law.
The more we looked into this, I was then incensed to find out that the foreign law they were accused of breaking has nothing to do with conservation, has nothing to do with the rainforest. That all that hyperbole about rainforest and conservation has nothing to do with the issue here.
They're accused of breaking an Indian labor law. This is a law that says the wood has to be finished in India. The same wood can come here, they just want the jobs over in India and not over here. They have actually said, in their legal pleadings, that if Gibson Guitar would finish the wood over there they won't be in violation.
So if we send the jobs we have in Nashville over to India everything is fine? This is ridiculous. I could not believe we have a law on our books saying we have to obey all foreign laws. How could that possibly be an American law and how could that possibly be constitutional. Not just all past foreign laws, we've agreed to obey all future foreign laws.
There was a case a few years ago of two fisherman off the coast of Florida - Abner Schoenwetter and David McNab. They got six years in prison for breaking a law that wasn't a U.S. law, but for breaking a Honduran fishing regulation.
There's something from the tradition of due process that you have to have fair notice and it comes out of our common-law tradition. How are you supposed to have fair notice of a Honduran law? What