A few months ago, the non-partisan Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington named Gov. Tom Corbett (R-PA) among the “Worst Governors in America” claiming he “turned Pennsylvania’s state government into a favor mill for campaign supporters.” This week, the Philadelphia Inquirer reported Corbett has appointed one such supporter — Tea Party operative Ana Puig to be legislative liaison for his Pennsylvania Department of Revenue.
Puig first rose to political prominence after President Obama’s inauguration as an activist in the Tea Party movement. Speaking at numerous rallies, she became co-chair of and registered lobbyist for a local group called the Kitchen Table Patriots. At a 2009 rally, she argued that Obama was a Communist, in the mold of Fidel Castro and Hugo Chavez. Citing her own experience, as a native of Brazil, she warned of the “direct correlation between what’s happening in the United States and what has happened in Brazil and Latin America — the implementation of 21st Century Marxism. In other words, a camouflaged statement for Communism.” She went on to claim that “21st Century Marxism” would be implemented after “a liberal or progressive candidate [like Obama] is introduced to the masses as the messiah that is going to fix all problems imposed to them by evil capitalists.”
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According to Keystone Politics, she defended Nazi memorabilia enthusiast in her organization as “a historian” and “an extremely smart person,” featured a blog promoting birther conspiracy theories and identifying the president as a member of the Muslim Brotherhood on her group’s website, and promoted events warning of the creeping threat of Sharia law in the United States. She was later named Pennsylvania Field Coordinator for FreedomWorks, the right-wing astroturfing group then-run nationally by former U.S. House Majority LeaderDick Armey (R-TX).
Despite her record of extreme statements, Corbett named her to his 2010 gubernatorial transition team. When critics noted that she had agreed with comments that American liberals are “in alliance with radical Islam,” and called for her removal from his education committee, Corbett stood by Puig and praised her advocacy for home schooling.
But as of August 12, the longtime anti-tax activist is earning a government salary of $68,245 annually for Pennsylvania’s tax collection agency. Puig, declined to discuss the irony, telling the Inquirer “after four years, I’m tired of media attention.”