(Baton Rouge, LA): The Republican Party of Louisiana is calling on Governor John Bel Edwards to answer for the delay in releasing public records regarding his scandal-plagued “business summit” in February. The business summit appeared to be little more than a taxpayer-funded campaign event stacked with Edwards contributors and supporters.
The LAGOPsubmitteda public records request on February 18, 2019 for any and all correspondence related to Democrat Governor John Bel Edwards’ Louisiana Statewide Business Summit to discern whether the governor was in fact holding a taxpayer-funded campaign event to bolster his re-election efforts. The request was made following media coverageindicatingthat numerous speakers at the event were campaign contributors or employees of Edwards. A copy of the request can be foundhere.
The records were due to be delivered on March 18, 2019, but the LAGOP received email correspondence from Governor Edwards’ office on the due date stating “It is now estimated that all non-exempt records will be made available to you on or before April 22, 2019” – a delay of more than 30 additional days, and more than 60 days beyond the original request date. A query regarding the reason for the delay went unanswered as of 9:00am this morning.
“When Governor Edwards was under fire for using taxpayer funds to hold a re-election event, his office repeatedly claimed that his so-called business summit was aboveboard,” said Chairman Louis Gurvich. “Now, once the glare of the spotlight has faded, the governor’s office is stonewalling the release of public records. What do they have to hide? The Governor needs to release these public records so the people of Louisiana get the transparency they deserve.”
The LAGOPsubmitted an additional public records request on February 25, 2019, for any and all correspondence related to closed-door meetings reportedly hosted by Governor Edwards with business leaders. Under scrutiny from the media for the business summit, Edwards’ spokesperson Christina Stephens told The Associated Press that the governor has been hosting “closed-door meetings with business leaders since 2017.” The Governor’s office has not yet responded to this request, a copy of which can be foundhere.