John Binienda, Massachusetts State Lawmaker, Compares Lobbyist Badges To Holocaust Tattoos
A Massachusetts proposal that would require lobbyists in the statehouse to wear ID badges was met Wednesday with a comparison to Holocaust-era tattoos.
"The idea of the badge by lobbyists to me, I kind of find that revolting," Democratic Rep. John Binienda, chairman of the House Rules Committee, told the Massachusetts State House News Service. "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 lobbyist identification proposal is part of a set of Republican-sponsored ethics reforms meant to foster transparency and pare back outside influences on the state legislature following the recent conviction of former Massachusetts House Speaker Salvatore DiMasi on charges that he oversaw a scheme to steer two state contracts worth $17.5 million to a software firm in exchange for payments.
As the Boston Globe reports, DiMasi was the third consecutive speaker to be convicted of, or plead guilty to, a felony.
On Thursday, Binienda issued an apology for his comments.
“Yesterday, I made an inappropriate analogy regarding a proposed change to the House Rules,” Binienda said in a statement. “No comparison can be made between the Nazi regime and a rules proposal made by members in good faith. I apologize to the sponsors as well as the people of Massachusetts for my words and look forward to working with the sponsors on these proposals.”