WASHINGTON - U.S. Congressman Paul Broun, M.D. (R-GA) introduced the Freedom from Over-Criminalization and Unjust Seizures Act (FOCUS) Act of 2012, H.R. 4171, a companion bill to the S. 2062 that Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY) introduced last month in the Senate.

The FOCUS Act, which Broun said has bipartisan support, would amend the Lacey Act that holds Americans liable for a wide range of foreign laws pertaining to wildlife, fish, and plants.

Broun said the FOCUS Act aims to remove every mention of foreign law from the Lacey Act. In addition, the bill would eliminate a federal prison sentence of up to five years and reduce the maximum fine from $500,000 to $200,000 as currently provided under the Lacey Act.

Broun joined Paul in pointing to the armed federal agent raids at Gibson Guitar last August as "the most recent example of this overcriminalization." Gibson allegedly violated the Lacey Act because it purchased rosewood fretboards from India in violation of Indian law.

“Our bill will peel back one of the most intrusive overreaches of the federal government that exists in the Lacey Act," Broun said. "The U.S. government should not be able to apply foreign laws to American citizens or businesses.  Moreover, I never want to see an incident like the Gibson Guitar raid happen again.  We’re facing one of the worst economic downturns in history, and the last thing our job creators need is a looming threat that the federal government can step in and close up their shops at the drop of a hat."


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