Backslappers at their Worst: “No Developments Sunday” in Boating Accident

by JC

Update 8/31, 10:30am:

Seems that Barkus found a need to hire an attorney. He is directing all questions to Todd Glazier.

And John Adams is tweeting that a press conference is currently underway. He reports: “Not much new to report from today’s [8/31] press conference. Rehberg, Smith to be released today. Frost “stable.” No update on the Barkuses.”


Ok, It’s been 3 days since Barkus slammed his boat into the rocks at Wayfarers State Park injuring everybody aboard, and we still don’t know anything about the accident, except that he was at the helm.

Well, actually, we know a lot more than that. In the Missoulian today, we’re treated to this little tidbit:

The Flathead County sheriff’s office is investigating the incident. A dispatcher at the sheriff’s office says there have been no developments in the case Sunday.

Ok, that sounds innocuous enough. But what do we know about the Sheriff, Mike Meehan? Well, it turns out that he and Barkus are buddies. Good enough buddies that Meehan endorsed Barkus for his Senate run in ’06. Here, check out the endorsement in the Daily InterLake:

Maybe now we know why there were no developments in the investigation.

James Conner at the Flathead Memo gives us some perspective on this:

[Barkus] asserts that he’s tough on crime, while carefully avoiding explaining what he means or what he wants to do as a legislator to be the tough guy he says he is. Look at the endorsements… Two stand out in a way that reflects poorly on Barkus:

First, the endorsement from Mike Meehan, the Republican candidate for Flathead County Sheriff identifies Meehan as “sheriff elect.” Meehan is running unopposed, but he hasn’t been elected yet.

Barkus also touts endorsements from three other elected officials: Jim Dupont (Sheriff), Ted Lympus (District Judge), and Ed Corrigan (County Attorney). You can decide for yourself whether you think that’s appropriate. Elected officials have the right to endorse legislative candidates, but when judges and county attorneys do it, it raises the troubling specter of partisan behavior in what should be non-partisan offices.

Second, there’s an endorsement from one Scott Warnell, identified as a “police detective.” Presumably Warnell works for the police department in Kalispell, but given the ad’s insouciant approach to getting the facts straight, Warnell might be a sheriff’s deputy. What’s wrong with this? Nothing, as long as Warnell speaks as a citizen. But when he identifies himself as a law enforcement officer, and his name in the ad is placed next to four of the county’s major elected officials in the justice system, it appears as though Barkus has the blessing of the police department in Kalispell.

Equal justice for all requires that law enforcement personnel steer clear of partisan political activity. To do otherwise is unprofessional and dangerous. Warnell, and I think the others, crossed that line. And Greg Barkus appears blind to the problem.

So, not only is Barkus in bed with the sheriff, he’s also pocketed the Police Dept., the County attorney, and the Judge. Not to mention the FWP investigators: he chairs the State Senate’s FWP committee, and he is a former FWP commissioner.

Anybody think we’re going to get a straight story out of Flathead County or FWP? Didn’t think so. Cover up is underway, it seems. There is conflict of interest and cronyism galore at work here. Then again, maybe Barkus’ “Tough on Crime” campaign, and those who supported it might just up and do the right thing. Get Tough!

  1. God you’re despicable JC. Not that I’m surprised.

  2. petetalbot

    JC has presented some interesting facts, Lt. Ripley. Not sure why that makes him despicable.


    Maybe Schweitzer can get involved and turn some dials LULZ

  4. Lizard

    politics is personal now. both sides do it. and both sides act like cry babies when their team is on the receiving end. it’s f*ing boring.

    i would, however, like to know how much that ankle surgery would have cost someone who didn’t have health insurance.

    • um…it costs the same whether or not you have health insurance…what grade are you in?

      • JC

        Two people go to the doctor. One has health insurance, the other doesn’t. They both get the same procedure. Who pays more?

        The one without insurance. Always. People without insurance subsidize those with insurance, because insurers are able to bargain for lower prices.

        This isn’t just a mental exercise. I have asked about pricing, and gotten answers. And then I have a talk with the doctor and the business manager about how wrong that is. Sometimes I can wrangle a lower price, usually not.

        But there is something inherently wrong with having to haggle with your doctor. Especially if you are hurting and need treatment now. You’re pretty much a captive audience.

        Did you pass kindergarten, rusty?

      • Lizard

        rusty, why so testy? i’m just curious about cost.

        and you are curious about what grade i’m in, because somehow you hope to imply i lack maturity, i guess.

        well, if you must know, i tossed my cap in ’97, so it’s true i have a long way to go before i can start acting like the big boys and girls around here who have such better manners than myself.

    • And speaking from experience, it might end up costing LESS if it’s paid out of pocket.

      • and you don’t find that slightly messed up?

      • JC

        Show me where you can get treatment out of pocket cheaper than with insurance. I’ll check it out. Always trying to save a buck in the health care market. Especially when all my expenses come out of my pocket.

        • I have heard this for hospital bills, JC….that hospital bills will take lower than charged amounts when they find someone doesn’t have insurance.

          They tag on extra costs because of the paperwork they have to deal with insurers…plus, hospitals can call themselves non-profit providing that they use that non-profit $ to buy down or pay-off certain indignant bills…bills that can’t get paid through any one of numerous other funding sources available.

          So hospitals will charge a non-insured person less and write-off that over amount as a “donation” from it’s non-profit.

          They’d much rather get someone who can’t pay their bills into some sort of funding source that will pay their bills, because that makes them more money…but you probably know that.

          It’s an obnoxious system that essentially rewards a for-profit system – both insurers and hospitals (that by-and-large have that non-profit sector built into their own systems.)

  5. Pogo Possum

    For not knowing “….anything about the accident… people in here are certainly making a lot of assumptions and pronouncements of guilt.

    JC, as usual, is less interested in facts and more interested in creating a conspiracy story.

    If the accident happened at around 10:30 PM Friday night, then it hasn’t even been 48 hours. No reasonable person would expect or want the Sheriff’s department to release findings so soon after an accident of this type that happened on a weekend less than 48 hours ago. Investigations usually don’t even release key facts until everyone has been interviewed. If JC thinks 48 hours is equivalent to three days then I am glad JC isn’t handling the investigation.

    From what I remember of various accidents involving the police, including one in which a close friend of mine was involved as a victim, it can take weeks or more for police to complete a through investigation in the best of conditions. That includes interviewing witnessed and everyone involved in the accident. I am not certain about the medical condition of all the people involved, but one of my friends connected with Justin’s family said he is in a medically induced coma right now. If Sherrif would have made any statements today, JC would have screamed about a shoddy investigation and more proof of a conspiracy.

    Let’s give the Sheriff’s Department and FWP a reasonable amount of time to do a proper investigation.

    In the meantime, JC can go do something he is good at like finding out who shot JR.

    • A liberal’s grasp of reality isn’t too strong, so his use of a “Jump To Conclusions Mat” makes perfect sense.

    • ummm…the accident happened 10:30 pm ish on Thursday night.

      Just sayin’…Thursday…not Friday….that’s all.

      Meaning, yeah – the cops and FWP are going to take a while to sort it all out….but why all the hush-hush over Barkus’ BAC?

      • Pogo Possum

        Thanks for the correction jhwygirl, I got back to town Saturday morning when I got an email on it and the person said it was a Friday.

    • goof houlihan

      I liked how the idiot (quoted) talked about “the specter of partisan behavior in what should be non-partisan offices” referring to a County Attorney. In most counties in Montana, the County Attorney runs and is elected as a Republican or Democrat, as are all the other row officers.

      They’re partisan elections and partisan positions.

  6. Doug

    Find the Daily Inter Lake report of Barkus’ DUI. 4 yrs ago? Less, more? Probably have to go to the dead tree morgue/microfiche to find it.

  7. Nick D

    It’s also curious why Lee Enterprises is avoiding doing any real reporting on the incident, while less resourced alternative outlets are having no problem. They’re also SEVERELY restricting comments on the stories. I haven’t had a single comment get past moderators, even though they’ve been simple (and polite) questions such as, “Why no details about who was the driver?”

  8. goof houlihan

    Also there’s this observation, “Equal justice for all requires that law enforcement personnel steer clear of partisan political activity.”

    From what I’ve seen, elections for County Attorney and for Sheriff are rife with partisan political activity, with political parties both actively trying to find candidates to run regardless of whether the incumbent has done a good job or not.

    It’s been my experience that the Democrats are particularly egregious in this activity, because “we can’t let them run unopposed”.

    • petetalbot

      Do you think that sheriffs and county attorneys should be partisan, goof? If they were nonpartisan races, it could avoid perceived conflicts of interest such as the one JC is posting about.

      I remember you being quite critical of my posts on partisan/nonpartisan city council races here in Missoula. (I thought they should be partisan so voters would know who they were voting for.) I still believe that in legislative positions, candidates should have party affiliation. I don’t think this should be the case for law enforcement or judicial positions. If you agree with me, then you’d also agree with the “idiot” quoted above: “Equal justice for all requires that law enforcement personnel steer clear of partisan political activity.”

      Or are you changing your tune, goof?

      • goof houlihan

        Why no. The county offices are partisan. The city offices are not.

        Those are the facts, not somebody’s opinion.

        • goof houlihan

          Oh, and it’s Democrats doing all they can to ignore the facts on both.

          • Oh you definitely need to prove that. Republicans are every bit as bad. I’ll be the first to admit they hide it better, but come on …

          • petetalbot

            Goof, you didn’t answer the question. Do you think county sheriffs and attorneys should have partisan races? You like partisan judges and sheriffs?

            And it’s the “Democrats doing all they can to ignore the facts … ” Yeah, right.

            You’re being duplicicous.

  9. At this point, the investigation is only a few days old. What some consider a lack of information strikes me as a commendable thoroughness. I have no reason to believe that Flathead Sheriff Meehan is engaged in a cover-up, his political support for Barkus notwithstanding.

    This is going to take some time. In the meantime, I urge people to keep in mind a few things:

    First, until proven otherwise, we should assume that Barkus was not just the driver but the designated driver, and therefore was stone cold sober with a blood alcohol level of zero.

    Second, the route across the lake from Lakeside to Bigfork is not a straight line. A boat steering a beeline will cut through the waterfowl production area in the delta of the Flathead River and might just run aground in the shallows. Therefore, most skippers steer a sweeping S-curve. In daylight this is easy. In the black of night, it is not.

    The events as described in news reports suggest that Barkus was far closer to the shore than he realized. The question is: why? Finding an answer will take time.

    In the meantime, Barkus is entitled to the presumtpion of innocence.

    • Steve W

      James Conner;

      Nowhere is anyone entitled to the presumption of innocence, except in a legal sense.

      But in terms of unofficial speculation, everyone is entitled to their own opinion.

      My hunch is Barkus was drinking that day.

      Care to make a 5 dollar bet?

      • Jim Lang

        One would almost hope that he was drinking. What does it say about him if he managed to drive that boat up on the rock stone sober?

  10. sopko

    Peter, since you’ve brought up the word “duplicitous” (looks like you forgot to spell check) when was the last time you got behind the wheel after a few beers?

  1. 1 OMG, IT’S A CONSPIRACY!!1! | MT Pundit

    […] for at least one severe injury sustained in the Rehberg/Barkus boating accident, the Left’s political boner freak-out and finger pointing at Denny in an election year would be funny.  It’s more than […]

  2. 2 Rehberg Legally Drunk at Time of Accident? « 4&20 blackbirds

    […] turned over its investigation file to the Flathead County Attorney, Ed Corrigan, whom I may add, is a Republican who endorsed Barkus for his State Senate bid in […]

  3. 3 Surprise, Surprise… Day after Election, Barkus Files Plea Agreement « 4&20 blackbirds

    […] That’s the same Ed Corrigan who endorsed Senator Barkus as being “tough on […]

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