2011-06-13 "Minnesota legislator likens unions to communists, Hitler" by Andy Birkey from "The Minnesota Independent"
Rep. Tom Hackbarth, R-Cedar, courted controversy last week after he emailed a member of the Minnesota Association of Professional Employees (MAPE) asserting that union members are communists and likening calls to raise revenues by taxing the top 2 percent of Minnesotans to the rise of Hitler in Germany and Fidel Castro in Cuba. The email prompted a sharp rebuke from MAPE, which asked Hackbarth to explain his comments.
MAPE member Robin Seifert sent an email to Hackbarth regarding the current budget impasse between Republicans and Gov. Mark Dayton that said, in part, “Please tax the richest 2% of Minnesotans. Ask them to pay their fair share.”
To that, Hackbarth replied:
"I can’t believe what I’m hearing from folks? All, similar letters to yours.
Are you a Union member? If so, are they the communist [sic] giving you this propaganda?
Do you know the who, what, when, where, why, and how, of Fidel Castro?
Hitler rose to power using and blaming the jews [sic] for the destruction of the German economy. Castro built his army of murderers by blaming the rich bankers and capitalist [sic] for destroying Cuba and taking advantage of the Cuban people. Hummmm?"
MAPE executive director James Monroe shot back with his own letter asking for clarification:
"While I appreciate your willingness to respond to your constituents, I am deeply troubled about what you wrote and ask you to shed light onto linking a public employee union with the rise of Adolph Hitler and murderous armies of Fidel Castro
Representative Hackbarth, do you really equate advocating for the middle class and Minnesota’s vulnerable citizens as communist propaganda? Do you really believe that when our members ask you to protect 140,000 Minnesotans from losing their MnCare benefits rather than having the richest two percent of Minnesotans paying their fairshare of taxes it compares to the rise of Hitler and targeting the Jews? When did supporting public services for battered women, crime victims and students in public universities become a fascist notion?"
Here’s the full exchange: