Gov Edwards Israel Trip Cost Taxpayers More Than $100K
Economic development possibilities and cyber-security are two of the things that the John Bel Edwards Administration touted as reasons for the Governor and others to visit Israel in the last week of October 2018.
There were twenty-three people total who went on the trip according to nola.com/The Times Picayune, and the trip cost Louisiana taxpayers around $100,000.
According to the public records request by the The Times, the bulk of the money, some $61,000 was spent on security for the Governor.
The security included the Louisiana Economic Development spending $31,033 on a private security firm called 3SIXZERO Ltd. who provided additional security for the Governor.
It was stated the firm was needed because they know more about the risks/trouble in that part of the world.
The trip lasted for seven days, and the entourage did spend time sight-seeing at historic sites.
$23,000 was spent on hotels and $16,000 for plane tickets.
The two invited media people, Elizabeth Crisp (The Advocate) and Matt Houston (WAFB-TV) were asked to pay their own way.
The Governor says the trip did bear fruit. He says an Israeli "international network security vendor" and LSU will be teaming on some cybersecurity projects. He adds a five year research agreement was signed between the Zuckerberg Institute for Water Research and the Water Institute of the Gulf of Baton Rouge.
The trip included people like Commissioner of Administration Jay Dardenne and Louisiana Economic Development Secretary Don Pierson.
Edwards' wife Donna Edwards' trip was funded by the Louisiana Leadership political action committee.
Some of the group's other activities included visits to the following:
- The Western Wall
- The Temple Mount
- Jerusalem Holocaust Museum
- The Sea of Galilee
- Baptism site on the Jordan River
When Edwards went to Vatican City to meet with Pope Francis about human trafficking, he paid his own way except for the $15,000 spent of his security.
He and Agriculture Secretary Mike Strain went to Cuba. The two were looking for trade opportunities.