Following my Friday morning post where I pointed out what seemed to be an unnecessary delay from the Governor’s office in response to an open record request, they delivered at 4:30 pm. Turns out, there is a lot to break down in who knew what, and when, in regards to Tax Commissioner Ryan Rauschenberger’s DUI arrest. The public record leaves us no choice but to dig further into how the “Good Old Boys Network” operates in Bismarck.
Not only did the Governor’s office know about Rauschenberger’s arrest on or before October 6th (two full weeks before the public), they allowed you to remain in the dark. That silence allowed a lobbying and advertising firm, Odney Advertising, to craft a politically correct statement for Rauschenberger to give to hand-selected media at a determined time. That decision was Friday, October 20th at approximately 3:00 in the afternoon.
If the Governor’s office is actively trying to “reinvent” recovery and eliminate the stigma, why did they allow a public official to keep it from us? According to the public record, Rauschenberger sent Burgum’s spokesman a text at 4:59 pm on October 6th saying the “case was filed” that afternoon. This would indicate to me a conversation was held prior to the text. How else would the spokesman know to simply respond with “Ok thanks” instead of asking, “what case?”
Here is the thing, Rauschenberger seems to have anticipated media questions following his case being filed. As he should have. If the case was filed on October 6th, how did the press not know about it until October 20th? There have been other high-profile arrests for DUI in ND and news broke much sooner than three weeks later as the result of a prepared statement. How did a statewide elected official’s arrest slip through the cracks?
We should also know who paid Odney Advertising for their service. Was the crafted statement written as part of a state contract? Was it paid for by Rauschenberger’s campaign? Was it an in-kind contribution? Or was it paid for by the North Dakota Republican Party? You’d be surprised to learn how interwoven all of this becomes.
There is a lot to unpack when it comes to the politics of this situation. It also gives you a glimpse in how the “Good Old Boys Network” that candidate Doug Burgum campaigned against operates behind the scenes.