Feds to Maine Gov: Rehang Mural or Repay Our Money

GOP gov took labor mural down after it was compared to N. Korea propaganda
By Kevin Spak,  Newser Staff
Posted Apr 5, 2011 12:40 PM CDT
Protesters rally at the State House in Augusta, Maine, April 4, 2011 to demand the return of the labor mural that Paul LePage ordered removed from the Labor Department headquarters.   (AP Photo/Pat Wellenbach)

(Newser) – When Maine Gov. Paul LePage decided to remove a 36-foot mural depicting the state's labor history from the state's Labor Department building, he didn't just tick off union leaders—he ticked off the federal government. The US Labor Department is demanding LePage put the mural back up, or else give back the federal money used to pay for it in the first place, the AP reports. About 63% of the $60,000 spent on the mural came from the state's federal unemployment trust fund.

LePage, a newly-elected Republican, took down the mural saying that it was biased in favor of labor, and didn't mesh with his pro-business agenda. He was responding in part to an anonymous letter that likened the mural to the kind of propaganda used in "communist North Korea where they use these murals to brainwash the masses." Hundreds of people rallied at the State House in protest yesterday, demanding that the mural—which depicts scenes that include a strike at a shoe plant in Lewiston and women shipbuilders at Bath Iron Works—be returned.

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