Maine's Republican governor, Paul LePage, compared the Internal Revenue Service to Nazi Germany's secret police force during a weekly radio address on Saturday.


The governor was criticizing President Obama's health care reform law, which requires most individuals in the United States to obtain health insurance coverage or pay a penalty. The IRS will enforce the penalty when the so-called individual mandate is implemented in 2014.

"We the people have been told there is no choice," LePage said, according to the Press Herald. "You must buy health insurance or pay the new Gestapo -- the IRS."

He claimed the new health care law made the United States less free.

“Now that Congress can use the taxation power of the federal government to compel behavior or lack thereof, what’s next?" LePage wondered. "More taxes if we don’t drive Toyota Priuses or if we eat too much junk food or maybe even pea soup?”

Maine Democratic Party Chairman Ben Grant slammed the governor for his comments, saying he should apologize to the real victims of the Gestapo.

"There is nothing that degrades politics more than purported leaders who so cavalierly invoke the worst in human history when they can't get their way in legitimate, modern policy disagreements," Grant said.

[Image via Maine Department of Education, Creative Commons licensed]

[Ed. note: Previous version of this story erroneously stated "Michigan's Republican governor."]