Burgum knew of commissioner's arrest weeks before revealed

BISMARCK, N.D. (AP) -- Gov. Doug Burgum learned of the North Dakota tax commissioner's recent drunken driving arrest more than two weeks before it was publicly disclosed.

Spokesman Mike Nowatzki said Wednesday that Burgum learned within days of Tax Commissioner Ryan Rauschenberger's Sept. 30 arrest.

Rauschenberger disclosed it on Oct. 20.

Nowatzki says Rauschenberger is an "independently elected official" and it was up to him when to disclose the arrest.

Nowatzki says the case was filed on Oct. 6 and became a record accessible to the public at that time.

Democratic-NPL executive director Scott McNeil in a statement criticized Burgum for "withholding" the news.

The timing issue surfaced as part of emails and text messages that political blogger and former Democratic state Sen. Tyler Axness obtained through an open records request.

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