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Montana State Sen. Charged In Congressman’s Boat Crash

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We're going to Narnia!In late August, juuuuuust as the Congressional recess was reaching a close, Montana Rep. Denny Rehberg — who has a history of getting trashed and flopping around on horses in Kazakhstan — went out on a boat with some buddies, and within minutes that boat was somehow vertical, among a pile of rocks. How drunk was the Boat Captain?, America asked. Well now we know: 0.16 — and that was several hours after the crash! It wasn’t Rehberg, though, operating the boat, just one of his buddies, some loser local politician who is now in big big trouble.

TPM Muckraker, doing that thing they do, with legal records:

Montana State Sen. Greg Barkus, who crashed his boat in a lake with four passengers aboard, including Rep. Denny Rehberg (R-MT), was charged today with one count of criminal endangerment and two counts of negligent vehicular assault, the Flathead county attorney’s office confirmed to TPMmuckraker.


Reached at his home this afternoon by TPMmuckraker, Barkus said he had not heard of the charges, all of which are felonies. He said he had no comment on the matter.

He should call the police! They have things to tell him.

The complaint describes a night of revelry by the group, which attended an “‘end of the summer’ dinner at the Docks Restaurant in Lakeside” and “left by boat a little after 10:00 p.m.” Bottles of red and white wine were out at the dinner, according Kristin Smith, one of the passengers and Rehberg’s deputy chief of staff. Barkus had two drinks (Dewars) and “was basically drinking … red wine for the rest of the night,” Smith is quoted as saying.

Nearly two hours after the accident, Barkus’ blood alcohol level came in at .16, or twice the legal limit, according to the complaint.

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Maybe Barkus just doesn’t remember this, ergo there cannot possibly be any charges against him. Think about THAT, liberal east coast “muck-raker” website.

MT State Senator Charged With Felonies In Allegedly Drunken Boat Crash With Rep. Rehberg [TPM Muckraker]

About the author

Jim Newell is Wonkette's beloved Capitol Hill Typing Demon. He joined in 2007, left for some other dumb job in 2010, and proudly returned in 2012 as our "Senior Editor at Large." He lives in Washington and also writes for things such as The Guardian, the Manchester paper of liberals.

View all articles by Jim Newell


Hey there, Wonkeputians! Shypixel here to remind you to remember our Commenting Rules For Radicals, Enjoy!

  • ManchuCandidate

    I guess the cops didn’t buy the whole “I’m sorry officer, but the rocky shore just jumped right in front of us as I was driving my boat” story.

  • the problem child

    One outstanding mystery: what was that white cylindrical object, and why is it not in this picture?

  • the problem child

    Oh, maybe it is back in Narnia now.

  • SayItWithWookies

    It’s all a big misunderstanding. Barkus was just trying to teach his boat to evolve, like those Jesus fish have.

  • Crank Tango

    [re=428950]the problem child[/re]: yeah I was wondering that myself. or should I say, “I was wondering that, also.”

  • KilgoreTrout_XL

    Montana State Senator Barkus also decried the media’s “smear campaign” against him regarding the “suspicious” black canister found near his boat, saying “[i]t was just a harmless 40 lb nitrous tank, but the media always has to make a story out of nothing.”

  • MLHencken

    Obviously the man is an inveterate rock-hater. A few drinks, and he’s all like: “I HATE YOU ROCKS! STOP HURTING MY BOATS!

  • bureaucrap

    The classic political defense: “I don’t remember it; therefore, it didn’t happen.”

  • Extemporanus

    Boat on the rocks
    Ain’t no surprise
    Pour him a drink
    And he’ll tell you some lies

    Shine on you crazy DUImond!

  • populucious

    [re=428955]KilgoreTrout_XL[/re]: yeah, the briefcase of “oregano” in the ship’s hold wasn’t suspicious either…when will this persecution of innocents end?!?!

  • Crank Tango

    [re=428957]bureaucrap[/re]: yeah that’s the funny thing about those DUI kinda crimes, being too drunk to remember what happened isn’t actually an excuse they accept. But this guy is rich, white, and republican so I am shocked and offended that he is being charged with anything.

  • user-of-owls


    rocky shores::Northwest watercraft
    armadillos::Southwest automobiles

  • AbstinenceOnly Ed

    Tippecanoe & Rehberg too!

    Who was driving the Dems health care reform boat? Good ol’ captain Max Barkus, no relation.

  • JMP

    The state Sen. got that drunk on just wine? Man, he must either have really been chugging it, or be a total lightweight.

  • qwerty42

    any speculation on the salvage value of a fiberglass boat (what it it, 20′?) that hits a rock hillside at – oh – 45 mph?
    I’m surprised there much more serious injuries, JFC, people should have been thrown out of the boat on impact.

  • user-of-owls

    [re=428956]MLHencken[/re]: Another damn anti-stalagmite.

  • widget09

    0.16 BAC, what a pussy, I mean, I could understand if BAC was 0.33.

  • hiphophitler

    I think the boat itself was probably drunk.

  • MARCdMan

    Wasn’t very nice to call the county attorney a flathead.

  • Extemporanus

    [re=428952]the problem child[/re]: You wanna know what’s in that bong-shaped object?

    It’s the Chronic—WHAT?!—cles of Narnia!

  • ogradybt

    He should go to jail just for drinking Dewars. What a dick!

  • Extemporanus

    [re=428977]hiphophitler[/re]: And he couldn’t find his mistress, even with the Geiger counter.

  • Jukesgrrl

    They thought they saw hot teens on the shore and they were going to pick them up for a Foley-style boat ride. Rocks got in the way. Why do rocks hate hot fun?

  • Dave J.

    The crazy thing is, when James Bond does this in a movie the boat goes allllllllll the way over the rocks, and then through the dinner party on the other side being held by crusty rich people, and then lands on the lake on the other side of the rocks, and then he fucks some chick and kills a bunch of dudes, so Rehberg is clearly not guilty.

  • ph7

    This would be funnier if one of the passengers wasn’t rendered Forrest Gumpish by the accident.

  • Dave J.

    [re=428982]ogradybt[/re]: Seriously, a blended Scotch? How gauche. Might as well be drinking Crown Royal.

  • problemwithcaring

    [re=428970]JMP[/re]: It’s called “wino.”

  • Mustang

    THANK YOU for covering these creeps in your Wonkette news blog, because Rehberg is your typical gross Republican who runs around calling political opponents drunks and other false slurs, and he’s a big gross greedy sanctimonious butthead for real. So I couldn’t be happier that the tables are now turned. Rehberg was Lieutenant Gov. with Marc Racicot, who later became a lobbyist for the American Insurance Association. Rehberg used to do all Racicot’s slandering for him so he could keep his smarmy charming hands cleans. Ick Ick Ick. HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA

  • JesusButter

    Rehberg defends his “good friend” in 3..2..1..

  • wx insider

    Well, at least he didn’t drive off a bridge on
    some small island and kill his mistress!

  • user-of-owls

    [re=428977]hiphophitler[/re]: “Witnesses reported that shortly before the crash, they heard the boat slurring, “Big Pile of Rockssh, *hic* you’re my besshht friend *hic*”

  • Mustang

    [[re=428971]qwerty42[/re]: There were, but they keep trying to underplay it. One of the aides on the joyride is brain damaged.

  • lochnessmonster

    These folks are just the people we want our youngun’s to look up to. What a fine example these people are.

  • PlanetWingnuta

    Ok why didn’t he do the DON’T YOU KNOW WHO I AM excuse cause you know that seems to work.Also.

  • qwerty42

    [re=428995]Mustang[/re]: I wondered. at the estimated 45 mph you’d be banged around in a car. in a boat with no seat belt or airbags and pretty much open to everything, people could be killed. especially since the only place to land would be on boulders.

  • user-of-owls

    [re=428992]wx insider[/re]: Right! Or run a red light and kill a 17-year-old!

  • Way Cool Larry

    Could we please get rid of this overbearing, obnoxious and offensive “Obama’s War” ad, like now???????

  • Accordion-o-rama

    Out-witted by a pile of rocks.

  • SmutBoffin

    The relations between rocks and Montanans haven’t been this strained since Peter Fonda got in a drunken argument with a piece of molybdenite.

  • Gopherit

    [re=428987]ph7[/re]: Rehberg was one of the Gumped. He is reduced to using a walker and truly has rocks in his head.

  • Extemporanus

    [re=429001]user-of-owls[/re]: Oh come on, that was totally different!

    Laura Bush recklessly killed her secret ex-boyfriend who was also the most popular kid in high school with her speeding car on a clear night on dry pavement at a crossroads where the view was unobstructed and the stop sign she blew through was clearly visible and there was never any form of public reckoning, whereas Ted Kennedy was a liberal Democrat.

  • Gopherit

    [re=428987]ph7[/re]: But yes, when your excellent prognosis is that you can eat solid food and live by yourself…..eeek.

  • hiphophitler

    [re=428994]user-of-owls[/re]: Shortly thereafter, the boat was heard to apologize for its inability to put on the condom, saying “shorry, honey (hic) but thish hash never happened before.”

  • Jukesgrrl

    [re=428995]Mustang[/re]: Underplay is an understatement. I read three articles about this when it happened and none mentioned serious injuries. I’ll just assume since they are Republican-friends-of-lobbyists they all have plenty of health insurance. But still. Three felony counts now seems like a gift.

  • assistant/atlas

    [re=428946]ManchuCandidate[/re]: Which, if you’ve ever met a Montana cop, is nothing short of amazing.

  • sprankles

    i thought it was in montana’s constitution that state senators must be able to drive a boat with a BAC of .20 or higher before they can be elected

  • vitira

    Yeah, implied consent is only for libtards. Real Americans drive drunk (and have babies out of wedlock at age 17).

  • ManchuCandidate

    A state of Officer Bar Bradys?

  • germansteel

    The skipper misunderstood a request by a passenger, to wit: “I’ll have another one on the rocks.”

  • rocktonsammy

    If his BAC was .20 or above, he could have made it up the rocks and to shore.

    Quitter, Pussy.

  • Bruno

    Don’t ever ever mix red wine, white wine, and a splash of rose. That’s a combination made for boat tippin’

  • Extemporanus

    [re=429206]Bruno[/re]: And for a shamelessly maudlin Billy Joel song.

  • hillarys_left_nut

    I’d say something snarky if I could remember the last time my redneck ass was on a boat, with a motor, sober. Kayaks and canoes and rowboats, sure, but there’s something about motorized watercraft that just seems to require 6 or 7 drinks, maybe a little weed. As Chris Rock said about Bill’s BJ, “People! Is that against the LAW?!?

  • ph7

    Boys will be boys.


    [re=428983]Extemporanus[/re]: Happily SHE’S at the bottom of the lake, weighted down with American Police Force brand body sink weights. Remember to look for the double eagle! [A, F#, B struck on a xylophone]


    [re=428969]AbstinenceOnly Ed[/re]: Actually Marx Barkus (D-MT) and Sen. Greg(gorius) Barkus are two of the 37 children of the sheriff of Flathead County, Dragos Karadordevic Barkus.

  • btwbfdimho

    “Senator, I served with James Bond, I knew James Bond, James Bond was a friend of mine. Senator, you’re no James Bond”.

  • Paul Tardy

    Dewars::White Wine as Straight::Gay, Putting the boat on the rocks was the best result given where this might have gone to.

  • LowerdPeninsula

    When he told the bartender “on the rocks” I’m sure he didn’t mean like this. **rimshot**

    Apparently, the aid is recovering more quickly than anyone expected and will get all of his cognitive functions back, and Rehberg just messed up his ankle. I love how this is being portrayed solely as Barkus’s fault. What a bunch of fuck-ups. They all get wasted and then let a wasted guy take them out for a spin on a lake. Yeah, sounds like an excellent idea.

  • Lascauxcaveman

    [re=429253]hillarys_left_nut[/re]: You got that right.

    Having had the privilege of growing up in the Great NorthWest with free and easy access to multiple inland waterways and literally dozens of watercraft ranging from el Toro dinghys to your average mahogany CrisCraft runabout, to twin-engine offshore cigarette boats capable of 90+ KPH (and a native skill in piloting all such forms of watercraft), I posit that the perp in this case with a B.A.C. of merely .16 was simply a little too sober, too tightly wound, a little too easily distracted from his captaincy to competently pilot his craft at negligent speeds through the rocky shoals.

    If it was me, the count of recyclable “dead soldiers” bobbing around in the bilge would have been much higher, and that boat would have made it to the dock in record time, with nary a scratch, on a moonless night, without me having located the switch that turns on the #@#$%&*% running lights.

    Of course, I would have stepped into the drink whilst attempting to tie the vessel to the dock, but that’s just me and my land legs, you see.

  • Lascauxcaveman

    [re=429354]Lascauxcaveman[/re]: Also forgot to mention, I have had the privilege of operating a watercraft (20′ Kingston Lobster Boat) on Flathead Lake, and that is one hella awesome beautiful place to go sailing on a clear and windy summer’s day.

  • mardam422

    But that move always works for James Bond.

    Fucking James Bond.