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Maine's Governor Paul LePage: IRS not far from Gestapo

• Kennebec Journal
Gov. Paul LePage Thursday attempted to clarify his recent comment comparing the Internal Revenue Service to the Gestapo, the Nazi secret police, during a fundraiser in Vermont. However, the governor may have reignited a controversy that's made national headlines.

During an interview with a reporter from the Burlington weekly Seven Days, LePage said that the IRS wasn't as bad as the Gestapo, the Nazi police force that imprisoned and murdered millions during World War II, but that the agency was headed in that direction.

"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," LePage said. "Maybe the IRS is not quite as bad -- yet."

Seven Days reporter Paul Heintz asked, "But they're headed in that direction?"

LePage responded, "They're headed in that direction."

Heintz then asked LePage if he knew what the Gestapo did during World War II. LePage said, "Yeah, they killed a lot of people." Heintz asked if he thought the IRS was going to kill a lot of people.

"Yeah," LePage said.

"They're headed in the direction of killing a lot of people? Are you serious?" Heintz asked.

LePage said he was "very serious," adding that the agency would be rationing health care.

"They ration health care in Canada," LePage said. "That's why a lot of people from Canada come down to the U.S."

LePage first compared the IRS to the Gestapo on Saturday, during his weekly radio address. He later backtracked on the comments following an outcry from Jewish groups. The head of the IRS workers union also demanded an apology, saying such rhetoric could endanger employees.

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