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Wednesday, April 17, 2019

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Governor's Rome trip cost state $15,000 for security detail

Governor's Rome trip cost state $15,000 for security detail

BATON ROUGE, La. (AP) — Gov. John Bel Edwards' trip to meet the Pope in Rome cost taxpayers $15,000 for his state police security detail.

Edwards personally paid travel costs for him and his wife for the weeklong trip in January. But the travel expenses for the governor's bodyguards were billed to the Louisiana State Police.

The tally for those trooper costs — released Friday to The Associated Press in response to a public records request — was just under $15,000.

The biggest charge was nearly $8,600 spent on overtime. Flights and transportation cost $3,000. Meals and lodging charges were about $1,700 each.

Edwards, Louisiana State Police Col. Mike Edmonson and two state lawmakers were among those on the trip, to meet with an order of nuns working to combat human trafficking, the Hospitaler Sisters of Mercy, and talk about the effort with Pope Francis.

The Hospitaler Sisters of Mercy are building a shelter in Baton Rouge for juvenile victims of human trafficking. The governor's office said Edwards and his wife Donna, devout Catholics, wanted to assist in the effort to stop human trafficking and encourage such collaborations between churches and states.

Only the state trooper bodyguard expenses were billed to the state, according to the trip's participants.

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