After declaring plans to seek down possible tax evaders, a German regional official received hate mail.
Danyal Bayaz, the finance minister of the southwestern state of Baden-Württemberg, proposed allowing German police to receive anonymous internet tip-offs if someone was evading taxes.
However, Bayaz’s plan was heavily panned online, with some accusing him of resurrecting authoritarian tendencies from Germany’s past.
On Thursday, the regional minister retweeted a series of nasty remarks hurled at him, including racial allusions to his Turkish ancestors.
The proposal to seek out potential fraudsters has sparked outrage in Germany, less than a month before the federal elections.
Tax evasion is commonly performed as a “national sport,” according to the former president of the Bayern Munich football club.
Bayaz, a Green Party member who was elected in May, said this week that a new internet site will allow individuals to email anonymous reports to state tax inspectors.
Such statements may already be sent through email and letter, but the current measure has provoked uproar among political opponents and several German media sites.
On Thursday, the tabloid daily Bild dubbed Bayaz a “tax Stasi,” referring to the East German secret police, who famously coerced neighbours and family members to spy on people’s private lives.
The plan, according to Bernd Gögel, head of the far-right AfD party in the regional parliament, “creates an atmosphere of suspicion.”
Bayaz has justified the idea, claiming that Germany loses around €50 billion every year due to tax fraud.