Politician apologizes for Holocaust remark

June 30, 2011 at 9:39 PM
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BOSTON, June 30 (UPI) -- A top Massachusetts legislative official has apologized for likening proposed identification badges for lobbyists to Jews' concentration camp tattoos.

"The idea of the badge by lobbyists to me, I kind of find that revolting," Rep. John Binienda, D-Worcester, the chairman of the House Rules Committee said Thursday.

Of the Republican proposal, he said, "Hitler during the concentration camps tattooed all of the Jewish people so he would know who was Jew and who wasn't, and that's something that I just don't go along with," The Boston Globe reported.

Binienda subsequently said his analogy was "inappropriate," the newspaper reported.

"No comparison can be made between the Nazi regime and a rules proposal made by members in good faith," he said. "I apologize to the sponsors as well as the people of Massachusetts for my words."

The proposal is part of an ethics-changes package made in Boston by House Republicans after former House Speaker Salvatore F. DiMasi was convicted on federal corruption charges earlier this month.

DiMasi was convicted of accepting a kickback in exchange for approving a software contract, the Globe reported.

Republicans want badges as a transparency measure so that legislators, the public and the press would know who is roaming around the halls of the state Legislature trying to influence lawmaking, the Globe reported.

Binienda said the measure is unnecessary. "I know who the lobbyists are when I go out there," he said.

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