Rep. Allen West, a freshman Republican, made the Nazi reference Thursday when asked about Congress' approval ratings and the blame the public has focused on Republicans.
"If Joseph Goebbels was around, he'd be very proud of the Democrat Party because they have an incredible propaganda machine," West said, according to Politico, which first reported the comments. Goebbels was Adolf Hitler's propaganda minister.
West represents a district in South Florida, which has an influential Jewish constituency and a sizeable population of Holocaust survivors.
He told reporters, in his remarks at the Capitol, that he was comparing Democrats to the Nazi propaganda, not the Nazis themselves, but that did little to quell controversy.
The remark was criticized by Democrats. Steve Israel, chairman of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, said that "comparing political differences today to the worst Nazi propagandist diminishes what happened to millions of Jewish families during the Second World War."
West is a favorite of the tea party, a coalition of community groups with conservative and libertarian views.