Edwards' Puerto Rico Trip Cost Louisiana Taxpayers $5,100



BATON ROUGE, La. (AP) — Louisiana Gov. John Bel Edwards' two-day trip to Puerto Rico to discuss the island's ongoing recovery from Hurricane Maria cost taxpayers about $5,100.

Most of the money, according to expense information given to The Associated Press, paid for the Democratic governor's state police security detail. Troopers' overtime, lodging, transportation and meals cost $4,200, according to an expense breakdown provided Wednesday.

Another $470 was spent on hotel rooms for Edwards, his wife Donna and his spokesman Richard Carbo for the trip made at the end of October. Carbo said their flight costs were paid by Edwards' campaign.

Edwards' homeland security director James Waskom billed the state for $420 in hotel costs. He took a flight with the Louisiana National Guard, whose costs are covered by Puerto Rico under an emergency management compact.

Louisiana has deployed National Guard soldiers and other personnel to Puerto Rico along with heavy equipment to assist with recovery efforts, work also paid through the emergency compact. The state also launched a donation drive for needed items for the island.

Edwards traveled on Oct. 30 and 31 at the invitation of Puerto Rico Gov. Ricardo Rossello, who asked the governor to provide insight into recovery and rebuilding lessons learned in Louisiana.

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