The Flathead Valley’s Leading Independent Journal of Observation, Analysis, & Opinion. © James R. Conner.


31 October 2012

Report released!

Download the 155-page, 6MB, PDF from CREW.

The judge expanded his order to include the people who had paid their $82.50. More on that later.

Judge tricks public on Barkus crash report

Update. After mulling the situation, I find myself wondering whether Flathead County Clerk Peg Allison, who must know Greg Barkus and probably knows Denny Rehberg, is doing as much as she could to represent the public’s interest in having the report released quickly and at a reasonable fee ($82.50 is not reasonable for a PDF; in fact, a fee for a PDF is never reasonable).

Is it possible she believes — or knows — there is something in the report that would hurt Rehberg more if disclosed before the election than will the speculation about the report’s contents that will exist until the report is released? And if she is taking politics into consideration, why is she doing so? As an elected official, she is obligated not to allow partisan considerations to affect her decisions. Along with the judge, Peg Allison has some explaining to do. End update.

Begin original post. Want to obtain a copy of the Barkus crash report? It will still cost you $82.50 for the PDF — but just paying that unreasonable fee won’t be enough. Although releasing it to the Associated Press and a non-profit puts the report in the public domain in every practical sense, and citizens might be able to obtain a copy if the AP puts the PDF online (which it might do, but not before it writes its stories), you’ll also need to present Flathead Clerk of Court Peg Allison with a court order (yes, you’ll have to file a motion with the judge) before she can give you a copy.

Those are the facts. I’ll let my readers supply the indignation. Here’s Allison’s email to the good citizens who thought they had a right to obtain a copy of the report:

From: Peg Allison
Date: Wed, Oct 31, 2012 at 11:52 AM
Subject: PSI update
To: (distribution list deleted by Flathead Memo)

Good morning.

I must apologize to those of you that have inquired about receiving a copy of the Barkus PSI and have been told by me that it would be possible. In the order the Court’s order of October 24, 2012 the release is granted specifically to only CREW and the AP.

I have checked with the Court to make certain that the document, though being released to the AP, cannot be released to the general media and I have been informed that it cannot. Media or individuals that desire to have a copy of the PSI from the Court must file an appropriate motion.

Attached is a copy of the Court’s order dated 10-24-12 for your review. I am so sorry to have mislead those that called to inquire and, of course, will be returning any funds received from folks that are not able to have a copy.


Peg L Allison