North Dakota legislator set to resign, mum on investigation

May 31, 2022, 10:06 AM | Updated: 11:02 am
FILE - North Dakota Sen. Ray Holmberg listens during a joint House and Senate Appropriations Commit...

FILE - North Dakota Sen. Ray Holmberg listens during a joint House and Senate Appropriations Committee meeting at the Capitol in Bismarck, N.D., on Jan. 7, 2009. Holmberg, a North Dakota state senator who is resigning following a report about text messages he exchanged with an inmate ran up travel expenses the past decade that are more than 14 times what lawmakers bill state taxpayers on average, according to a review by The Associated Press. (AP Photo/Will Kincaid, File)

(AP Photo/Will Kincaid, File)

BISMARCK, N.D. (AP) — North Dakota’s longest-serving state senator declined to comment Tuesday on whether he’s the subject of an ongoing investigation following a report that he’d traded scores of text messages with a man jailed on child pornography charges.

Republican Sen. Ray Holmberg had previously announced plans to resign Wednesday, six months before the end of his term.

“There is a time,” Holmberg told The Associated Press on Tuesday when asked about why he was abruptly ending his 46-year career.

Police and federal agents in Grand Forks seized video discs and other items from the Holmberg’s home in November

“The rain will stop one of these days and things will go on,” he said, declining to elaborate.

Homberg said he planned on attending a luncheon with some current and former lawmakers on Tuesday. He plans on turning in his state-issued computer and legislative credentials that include access to the state Capitol on Wednesday.

Holmberg has been one of the Legislature’s most powerful lawmakers for decades, serving as chairman of the Senate Appropriations Committee. He chaired the Legislative Management committee, which decides committee assignments and chooses study topics that often inspire legislation, four times.

The 79-year-old was the Legislature’s top traveler in at least the past decade — a period when he held a post that allowed him to approve his own travel. Records for his state-reimbursed travel during the previous three decades of tenure are incomplete or no longer exist.

He also sat on the state’s Emergency Commission, which allocates funding and resources in times of an emergency, and served on or chaired several GOP-led redistricting committees.

When he announced in March that this would be his last term, he said the stress of a session and a campaign would “only exacerbate a weakened ability to concentrate on the matters at hand and effectively recall events.”

Many North Dakota Republicans, including Gov. Doug Burgum, showered Holmberg with accolades at the time.

Holmberg will remain on the Legislature’s state-funded health insurance plan through July, a benefit that is worth about $1,425 monthly.

Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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North Dakota legislator set to resign, mum on investigation