North Dakota tax commissioner resigns after hotel incident

Bismarck, ND (Associated Press) — North Dakota Tax Commissioner Ryan Rauschenberger announced Tuesday that he will resign, a day after he was imprisoned after he passed away drunk in a hotel room that was not his.

In an email to Governor Doug Burgum obtained by the Associated Press, Rauschenberger, who has a history of alcohol problems, said, “My recovery should be my main focus. I don’t think I can fully carry out all office duties while focusing on recovery.”

In a statement, Burgum thanked Rauschenberger for his service and said he will appoint someone to serve for the remainder of Rauschenberger’s term, which expires at the end of next year.

“We are deeply grateful to Ryan for his dedicated and effective service to the citizens of North Dakota for over 13 years, and we commend him and the First Lady for his courage to take the necessary steps to prioritize his recovery, health and safety,” Borgum said.

Rauschenberger, 38, said his resignation would be effective Jan. 3 and that his official letter of resignation would be issued soon.

“I hope this gives you plenty of time to find and appoint a successor,” Rauschenberger said of his resignation date.

According to police, Rauschenberger was waiting to check in to a clean room at the Bismarck Hotel when he entered a room that had not been cleaned. Shut the door and refuse to answer the cleaners. Police were called, and Officer Brandon Rosen said in his report that he found Ryan fainted face down on the bed. He said Rauschenberger “was so drunk he was able to take care of himself” and was brought in for detoxification at 1:31 p.m.

Rauschenberger, who has not been arrested, did not immediately respond to a message he left on his mobile phone on Tuesday.

Rauschenberger, a Republican, was the tax commissioner for seven years. His alcohol problems first came to light in 2014 when he took time off to complete a 20-day inpatient treatment program in Minnesota. This came after he loaned his car to a man he met while undergoing drug treatment and the man crashed it while driving while drunk.

Rauschenberger was arrested for drunk driving in September 2017, when an initial breath test indicated that his blood alcohol content was more than double the legal limit for driving. As part of his guilty plea, he completed his recommended outpatient treatment program in March 2018.

Court documents show that Rauschenberger pleaded guilty three months ago in Bismarck Municipal Court to driving with an open container of alcohol in his car and paying a $100 fine. The police statement shows that it was stopped as early as August 1.

Rauschenberger was appointed to the position of tax commissioner at the end of 2013 to fill a vacancy following his resignation. He won a full term in 2014, defeating Democrat Jason Astrup, and won re-election in 2018, defeating Democrat Kylie Overson.

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