News Column

IRS Is 'Obama's Gestapo,' Says South Carolina GOP

July 31, 2013
President Obama campaigning in 2012 (file photo)

The South Carolina Republican Party called the Internal Revenue Service "Obama's Gestapo" in a fundraising email on Tuesday in yet another reference to Adolf Hitler by one of the state's two major political parties.

The email was referring to IRS officials' admitting they had singled out political groups for closer scrutiny -- based on their name and beliefs -- when they were applying for tax-exempt status. The email encouraged people to donate to the S.C. Republican Party so it could "expose and abolish" the IRS.

Jamie Harrison, chairman of the S.C. Democratic Party, called the email a "disgusting display" and said S.C. Republicans were "equating its political opponents to the Nazi police that oversaw the imprisonment and mass-murder of millions of innocent people."

"As the leader of her party, Governor Haley should condemn these hateful remarks. And as Chairman of the SCGOP, Matt Moore should apologize to the people of South Carolina and donate any money raised from this email to charity," Harrison said.

Just last year, Republicans were demanding an apology from former S.C. Democratic Party chairman Dick Harpootlian for comparing Republican Gov. Nikki Haley to Eva Braun, who was briefly Hitler's wife before the two committed suicide near the end of World War II. Moore -- who was then the state Republican Party's executive director -- at the time said Harpootlian's comments "are despicable and require an apology."

Tuesday, calls to Moore were not immediately returned. But Alex Stroman, the S.C. GOP executive director, said the fundraising email was "meant to grab the attention of those receiving it."

"If anyone was upset, we certainly regret it. Our goal was to highlight the IRS's questionable tactics and their decision to selectively scrutinize and target certain groups, including those in South Carolina," Stroman said.

Tuesday, after a meeting of the Budget and Control Board, Haley said the email was "unfortunate and uncalled for."

"There is no place in politics for any comments like that," she said. "I didn't think so when they were done to me, I don't think so now."

The fundraising email comes as South Carolina Republicans and Democrats are trying to appeal to minority voters. Both sides have accused the other of racial insensitivity. Last year, Phil Bailey, political director for the Senate Democratic Caucus, called Haley -- a child of Indian immigrants -- a "Sikh Jesus" on Twitter. Bailey was reprimanded and deleted his Twitter account for several months. And earlier this year, Democrats criticized Haley's campaign for having Roan Garcia-Quintana on its grassroots reelection committee, citing his ties to white supremacist groups. Haley's campaign ultimately asked Garcia-Quintana to resign.

Reach Beam at (803) 386-7038.


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Source: Copyright State (Columbia, SC) 2013

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