JBE Europe Boondoggle Wastes Taxpayer Money
(The Center Square) — Hotel and airfare for Louisiana Gov. John Bel Edwards’ August trip to the Netherlands and France totaled more than $5,600. With his protective detail provided by the Louisiana State Police costing $33,846, the trip cost taxpayers $39,474.83.
That might not be the final tally on the trip’s cost for taxpayers. John Walsh, the deputy executive counsel for Edwards, said that if any other financial records were posted, they would be provided as part of The Center Square’s public records request.
The European trip wasn't the only travel funded by taxpayers for Edwards. The Democratic governor cost taxpayers $2,168.46 for airfare and lodging for the National Governor’s Association conference in Washington, D.C. in July. On both trips, Edwards flew in economy class.
Edwards and a delegation of business leaders from Louisiana went on the trip to Amsterdam, Paris and Normandy on Aug. 5-14.
In the Netherlands, the Louisiana delegation visited the River Programme’s Noordwaard polder project and the water research campus in Delft, which is home to Deltares, a research group that works with the Water Institute of the Gulf on reducing flooding. The delegation also visited a world-class wave test facility, the Deltares Delta Flume project.
The second-term Louisiana governor and the delegation attended a meeting with officials from the Netherlands-based oil company Shell, which has a chemical plant in Geismar and an oil refinery between Baton Rouge and New Orleans. Shell is converting its Convent refinery, closed in 2020, into a biofuels refining center.
In France, the Pelican State delegation visited Paris and Normandy, site of 1944's Operation Overlord, better known as D-Day. Edwards visited the battle site to raise awareness for the $400 million capital campaign for the National World War II Museum located in New Orleans.
"This is a tremendous opportunity to learn from international leaders in flooding prevention, and to grow our economy while we’re at it," Edwards said in a news release announcing the trip. "I also look forward to furthering Louisiana’s cultural and economic ties to France."