Representative Tom Hackbarth really knows how to start trouble for himself. First it was lurking in an abortion clinic parking lot with a gun. Now this.
Late last week, Hackbarth got an email from Robin Seifert, a member of the Minnesota Association of Professional Employees. She asked him to oppose an "all-cuts budget" and to "please tax the richest 2% of Minnesotans."
In response, Hackbarth saw fit to shame her with references to Hitler, communism and Fidel Castro. Now union members want an explanation.[jump]
Seifert's letter urges the lawmaker to support Gov. Mark Dayton's proposal to tax the richest Minnesotans as opposed to a cuts-based budget favored by Republicans. In a manner of speaking, she didn't write it herself -- rather she simply filled in the blanks in this form email from MAPE's website. Her only original writing was a quick two-sentence plug at the end in support of a Vikings Stadium.
This kind of generic letter-writing was apparently news to Hackbarth who couldn't believe how similar her letter was to others he's been receiving. It rapidly goes downhill from there. Here's his full response:
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 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 for the destruction of the German economy. Castro built his army of murderers by blaming the rich bankers and capitalist for destroying Cuba and taking advantage of the Cuban people. Hummmm?
MAPE executive director James Monroe released the emails this afternoon along with his own response letter to Hackbarth.
"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," he wrote.
You can download and read the entire email exchange here.
Hackbarth's legislative assistant says the representative is up north where cell phone reception is spotty and is trying to contact him for response.
We'll keep you posted as this bizarre feud unfolds.