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PARKER — Undulating fields of crops and livestock-dotted pastures are the domain of a trigger-happy bully who brags about a political cloak of invincibility keeping him beyond reach of the law in faithfully conservative Linn County.Adversaries say he has woven a liquor-infused tapestry of fear colored by intimidation, abuse and lies. The saga features stalking, death threats, trespassing, drive-by gunfire, massive explosions, cattle theft, loan defaults, hit-and-run driving and marital strife. Linn County Sheriff’s Department files bulge with complaints about him.
Parker farmer Ben Katzer, who lives near Jim Brownback, said the governor’s younger brother didn’t hesitate to rub salt in wounds he inflicted on others by boasting: “Nobody can touch me.” Others have heard similar pitches. Linn County Sheriff Paul Filla witnessed Jim Brownback invoke the governor's name like body armor, but said it didn’t carry weight with him. Amid one conversation, the sheriff said, Jim Brownback declared, “ ‘I’ll just call Sam.’ ”