Resigning North Dakota senator led lawmakers in travel costs

Ray Holmbert

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, North Dakota’s longest-serving state senator announced Monday, April 25, 2022, that he would resign following a report that he had traded scores of text messages with a man jailed on child pornography charges. (AP Photo/Will Kincaid, File)

BISMARCK, N.D. (AP) — 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.

Travel records reviewed by The Associated Press show Republican Ray Holmberg has made taxpayer-funded trips to four dozen U.S. cities, China, Canada and several countries in Europe.

He was reimbursed about $126,000 for nearly 70 trips, all out of state, over the past decade.

Holmberg, who became one of the state’s most powerful lawmakers in a career that spanned 46 years, announced this month that he would resign June 1 following a report that he had traded scores of text messages with a man jailed on child pornography charges.

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