Maine Governor Calls IRS 'Gestapo'

Jewish Democrats Slam Gov. Paul LePage for Nazi Reference

By Reuters

Published July 13, 2012.
  • Print
  • Share Share

Maine’s Republican governor ignited a fresh firestorm on Thursday when, for the second time in a week, he compared the Internal Revenue Service to the Gestapo, Nazi Germany’s murderous secret police.

Democrats suggested that Governor Paul LePage, a Tea Party favorite elected in 2010, was unfit to hold office.

LePage had already been called out by Democrats, Jewish groups and others in the northeast U.S. state for linking the federal tax agency and the Gestapo in his weekly radio address on Saturday.

At that point LePage termed the IRS “the new Gestapo” in comments opposing national healthcare reforms upheld by the U.S. Supreme Court last month.

After the remarks were picked up by national media, LePage said in a statement that he had not intended to insult anyone. “Clearly, what has happened is that the use of the word Gestapo has clouded my message,” he said.

But in Vermont on Thursday at a fundraising event, LePage expanded on his earlier analogy in an interview with Seven Days, a Burlington weekly newspaper and website.

“What I am trying to say is the Holocaust was a horrific crime against humanity and, frankly, I would never want to see that repeated. Maybe the IRS is not quite as bad - yet,” LePage said.

Asked if the IRS was headed in that direction, LePage responded, “They’re headed in that direction.”

Asked if he knew what Adolf Hitler’s secret police did during World War Two, including the imprisonment and murder of millions of Jews, LePage said, “Yeah, they killed a lot of people.” Asked whether the IRS “was headed in the direction of killing a lot of people,” LePage answered: “Yeah.”

LePage added he was referring to the rationing of healthcare that he said occurs in Canada, which has a publicly funded national health system.

In a statement, Ben Grant, chairman of the Maine Democratic Party, questioned LePage’s fitness to hold office.

“We are governed by a person far more suited to anonymously calling talk radio programs than representing 1.3 million hard-working people,” Grant said.

The National Jewish Democratic Council denounced LePage’s latest comments as unacceptable.

IRS workers this week also demanded an apology, terming LePage’s initial comments extreme and potentially dangerous.

“Irresponsible rhetoric and mischaracterizations of federal employees can also lead to violent attacks on these workers,” Colleen Kelley, national president of the National Treasury Employees Union, said in a letter sent to LePage on Tuesday.


The Jewish Daily Forward welcomes reader comments in order to promote thoughtful discussion on issues of importance to the Jewish community. In the interest of maintaining a civil forum, The Jewish Daily Forwardrequires that all commenters be appropriately respectful toward our writers, other commenters and the subjects of the articles. Vigorous debate and reasoned critique are welcome; name-calling and personal invective are not. While we generally do not seek to edit or actively moderate comments, our spam filter prevents most links and certain key words from being posted and The Jewish Daily Forward reserves the right to remove comments for any reason.





Find us on Facebook!
  • What do you think of Wonder Woman's new look?
  • "She said that Ruven Barkan, a Conservative rabbi, came into her classroom, closed the door and turned out the lights. He asked the class of fourth graders to lie on the floor and relax their bodies. Then, he asked them to pray for abused children." Read Paul Berger's compelling story about a #Savannah community in turmoil:
  • “Everything around me turns orange, then a second of silence, then a bomb goes off!" First installment of Walid Abuzaid’s account of the war in #Gaza:
  • Is boredom un-Jewish?
  • Let's face it: there's really only one Katz's Delicatessen.
  • "Dear Diaspora Jews, I’m sorry to break it to you, but you can’t have it both ways. You can’t insist that every Jew is intrinsically part of the Israeli state and that Jews are also intrinsically separate from, and therefore not responsible for, the actions of the Israeli state." Do you agree?
  • Are Michelangelo's paintings anti-Semitic? Meet the Jews of the Sistine Chapel: http://jd.fo/i4UDl
  • What does the Israel-Hamas war look like through Haredi eyes?
  • Was Israel really shocked to find there are networks of tunnels under Gaza?
  • “Going to Berlin, I had a sense of something waiting there for me. I was searching for something and felt I could unlock it by walking the streets where my grandfather walked and where my father grew up.”
  • How can 3 contradictory theories of Yiddish co-exist? Share this with Yiddish lovers!
  • "We must answer truthfully: Has a drop of all this bloodshed really helped bring us to a better place?”
  • "There are two roads. We have repeatedly taken the one more traveled, and that has made all the difference." Dahlia Scheindlin looks at the roots of Israel's conflict with Gaza.
  • Shalom, Cooperstown! Cooperstown Jewish mayor Jeff Katz and Jeff Idelson, director of the National Baseball Hall of Fame, work together to oversee induction weekend.
  • A boost for morale, if not morals.
  • from-cache

Would you like to receive updates about new stories?




















We will not share your e-mail address or other personal information.

Already subscribed? Manage your subscription.