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John Irby Completely Misses The Point Again PDF Print E-mail
Written by Chet   
Sunday, 08 March 2009 03:09

Today Bismarck Tribune editor John Irby bloviates about how similar the move by former North Dakota Insurance Commissioner Jim Poolman into a job as "consultant" for companies in the industry he regulated after receiving tens of thousands of dollars (for himself and North Dakota's Republican Party) is to the possible move by North Dakota's Ag Commissioner Roger Johnson to the position of president of the National Farmer's Union.

North Dakota Agriculture Commissioner Roger Johnson announced he would resign from his state post if he is elected to serve as National Farmers Union president. We'll know the outcome in a few days.

I like Johnson. Some time back I met with him at his office and was introduced to several of his staff members, and we snacked on fresh fruit. It seemed like a fun place to work and we had good discussions.

But the political bed he has made might get a bit uncomfortable.

While not the exact situation, Johnson's possible departure is similar to former Insurance Commissioner Jim Poolman, who resigned from his position to become a consultant. A Republican, Poolman took major political heat from Democrats for leaving his office early.

Bismarck Tribune

"Not the exact situation," John?!?  Seriously?!?  

Irby completely misses the point of the criticism of Poolman for leaving his elected position as top regulator of insurance companies in North Dakota.  Here's a refresher:  Poolman -- in his capacity as North Dakota's Insurance Commissioner -- served [as chairman of] a committee at the National Association of Insurance Commissioners (NAIC).  On that committee, he strong armed "model legislation" -- laws to be proposed in every state in the country -- that favored a single company over all other companies in an insurance-related industry, the viatical settlement industry.  At the time, Poolman was taking tens of thousands of dollars in non-campaign campaign contributions (i.e. he never ran for office after receiving the money) from an executive at that one company, and his wife.  Then he ushered the same law through North Dakota's legislature, without disclosing his improper relationship with the company.  Then he announced he was leaving his post as Insurance Commissioner because he had received "an offer he couldn't refuse," but he couldn't tell anybody what that offer was.  It was a big secret, but he was going to go do some "consulting" for someone in the insurance industry.  

For the whole story, click here, John.  It's the story your newspaper never did a meaningful job of covering.

For some follow-up on what Poolman's "butt healing" process has included, click here.  It's another Poolman story your newspaper never covered.

Now, only today, months or years after you and your newspaper have ignored these stories about North Dakota's former insurance commissioner, you disclose that Poolman is your neighbor.  


Next, we'll find out that the reason your paper hasn't written anything about the junkets Adam Hamm and his staff take many times a year -- though he claims the most they get is an occasional back-yard barbeque -- is that he's also a neighbor.

Comments (5)add comment

Big Jake said:

I like John Irby. He seems to be a good and intelligent guy. He likes Roger's fruit servings. Does he know anything else about Roger's serving or eating habits. I'm sure the Tribune readers would like to know.
We don't know why Irby & Co. have missed the real Poolman story. It should be a newspaperman's delight---everything needed for a good story---money, corruption(?), power, partisan politics, etc. While is appears that there is not much similarity if any to the Roger Johnson story, that is the point----nobody from the 5th estate seems to be either interested or looking at all. It is a big deal to give up the Ag position with at least the appearance that the incumbent will win easily. So what is up??? I guess nothing at least according to the press. Neighbor or not, good guy or not, Poolman needed to withstand a much closer scrutiny than he got.

I like John Irby----he is a lot better journalist than is being demonstrated. So what gives? I can guess several scenarios but they are just that---guesses. We need a good paper---even one that leans one way or another politically. The public can usually or eventually sort that out. But the quality of journalism at the Tribune is woefully inadequate. Irby once claimed that his requests to HQ for an investigative journalist was not accepted---maybe. Later he said that the WSI affair was just not interesting to the public and they had taken it as far as was reasonable. Doubtful. The latest news at WSI and the Poolman issue is more ass covering and it works. The "free press" should be on these issues like flies on fresh horse dung. The repeated failures of the Tribune are really inexcusable. Irby knows better. Maybe the corporate culture or the local culture has dampened the reporting spirit. I don't know. But I hope that Irby reads this and considers what we all are saying and have been saying. Perhaps we should all take another run at the Tribune in constructive critiscism. We need a press not an establishment apologist rag.
March 09, 2009 | url
Votes: +2

What the Heck said:

If you can't do investigative journalism...
at least ask a tough question (or two). It wouldn't cost anything. The Trib editorial on WSI was just as pathetic, urging everyone to move on. About as credible as a paid-for IME.
March 09, 2009
Votes: +1

More Dem Hypocricsy said:

More hyporcricsy from the Democrats who cry and whine when the same tactics they used on their enemies are used on them. Grow Up.
March 10, 2009
Votes: -1

S. Fred Wood said:

There isn't any hypocrisy, and you know it. Sucking from the tit you regulate, or once regulated (or both in Poolman's case) is one thing, serving those you have served in a different, perhaps more effective manner, is another.

Should be the dems that are pissed. You get one more state office.
March 10, 2009
Votes: +0

Chet said:

To More Democratic Hypocricsy [sic]
I'd be interested in hearing you elaborate on the hypocricsy [sic] you're talking about. Are you saying I'm wrong about the criticism of Poolman? Are you saying Johnson received $45,000 in campaign contributions from someone at Farmers Union while he was (a) regulating them and (b) ushering through pro-Farmers Union legislation? Details, pal.

And I don't really have any enemies. I can get along with just about anyone.

What in the world are you talking about?
March 10, 2009
Votes: +3

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