On September 30th, State Tax Commissioner Ryan Rauschenberger was pulled over and arrested for a DUI — with a blood alcohol level of nearly three times the legal limit. That event flew under the radar of the media until it hit the news on October 20th.
As expected, Rauschenberger entered a guilty plea. His plea deal helped him to avoid any jail time. According to Valley News Live:
“Rauschenberger was given a 10-day suspended jail sentence and put on unsupervised probation for a year. He was fined $1,000, ordered to pay $250 in court fees, and ordered to get an alcohol evaluation and complete any recommended treatment.”
In our first article on Rauschenberger’s troubles, we not only documented the issues surrounding the DUI itself – and previous troubles regarding alcohol – but we laid out the facts showing that he is indeed the Establishment’s man. And we asked these questions:
“… are the NDGOP and Governor Burgum simply going to play the supportive role again and let this play out? Or, as some people may view it, turn a blind eye to the situation in hopes that Rauschenberger can pull it together and stay in office?”
“And if that is the path they decide on taking again, what kind of message does that send from a party that acts tough on an issue like drunk driving?”
In our follow-up article, after Rauschenberger had made his plea deal, we stated this:
“The unfortunate thing about this issue is that far too many North Dakotan’s have come out in defense of Rauschenberger. To put it bluntly, they make excuses. They don’t feel jail time is appropriate. They don’t feel there’s a need to have him resign. I wonder if some of them think it’s no big deal at all? One person commented to me that they’d rather have a good drunk Republican than a sober Democrat in there. Fascinating logic.” Well, according to a report from the NDGOP State Committee Meeting held last weekend in Minot, we now have a clearer indication of how the NDGOP, Governor Doug Burgum, and many of the NDGOP faithful are going to handle Rauschenberger’s troubles.
Apparently Rauschenberger spoke to the gathering of NDGOP leadership that included: Governor Doug Burgum, Lt. Governor Brent Sanford, NDGOP Chairman Kelly Armstrong, NDGOP Executive Director Dane Ferguson, U.S. Senate Candidate Tom Campbell, other State Officials, some State Legislators, District Chairmen, and others.
In his speech, Rauschenberger acknowledged his personal issues, said he hasn’t officially decided whether to run for re-election, spoke about issues relating to his office, and reportedly even opened it up for questions at the end, in which he welcomed any topic– including personal issues.
Apparently nobody took him up on the topic of personal issues, but one woman in the gathering voiced her support by saying that everyone makes mistakes and that he’s done a great job and should run again. To this, nearly everyone in attendance erupted in applause. Not only this, but Governor Burgum even interjected before Rauschenberger sat down and voiced his support.
And there we have it. In a matter of minutes, at one State Committee Meeting, we seem to have all the answers as to how the NDGOP, Governor Burgum, and others are going to handle Rauschenberger’s DUI… make more excuses, play the supportive role, hope he can pull it together, and support him for a re-election bid.
I wonder how Republicans will act the next time the issue of DUI’s comes before a Republican-dominated State Legislature? Will they be as soft on the issue then as they are now on our Tax Commissioner? Or does it take someone actually dying for them to come down hard on one of their own?
I hate to say it, but when it comes to moral high ground… this party has almost none when it comes to this issue.
2. http://www.valleynewslive.com/content/news/North-Dakota-tax-commissioner-pleads-guilty-to-driving-drunk-454265913.html 3. https://www.theminutemanblog.com/single-post/2017/10/20/The-NDGOP-Needs-to-Ask-the-Tax-Commissioner-to-Start-Packing