John Bel Edwards’ Failed Flood Recovery

The impacts of Edwards’ mismanaged recovery continue to this day...

RGA Right Direction PAC, an organization supported by the Republican Governors Association (RGA), today released a new digital ad campaign exposing Democratic Governor John Bel Edwards’ disastrous mismanagement of severe flooding in August 2016 that continues to impact thousands of Louisianans.

The digital campaign includes a new website, www.ExposeEdwards.com, featuring videos and news coverage chronicling Edwards’ litany of errors and incompetence, a digital video ad, and graphic banner ads. The campaign will target Louisiana voters on Facebook and run as banner ads on Baton Rouge-area news websites, including The Advocate.

In August 2016, Edwards traveled to Aspen, Colorado on the very day meteorologists warned of up to 15 inches of rainfall and the National Weather Service advised residents to “move to higher ground.”

Then, as Louisianans suffered in the aftermath of the flood, the Edwards administration presided over a “botched” recovery process, canceling state contracts twice due to conflicts of interest and licensing issues. The state had to pull back the original contract only to subsequently award the second contract to the exact same company, IEM – incidentally, a campaign donor.

Edwards’ handling of the contract was such a mess that Senator John Kennedy likened it to the “3 Stooges,” and Congressman Garrett Graves publicly excoriated the governor for putting the state in a position to be unable to spend federal recovery funds that had already been awarded.

In deeply embarrassing testimony before the House Oversight Committee, Edwards could not answer basic questions about the number of Louisianans impacted by the flooding, causing Congressman Jason Chaffetz, who chaired the committee at the time, to call him “clueless.” Edwards still had the gall to rate his performance as a “B+.”

In May 2019 – more than two years after the initial contract debacle – the Edwards administration had to scrap yet another contract for recovery services due to conflict-of-interest allegations, and in June 2019 news broke that the state was withholding $1.3 million from IEM – twice selected for the contract – for errors in hundreds of flood victim cases.

The impacts of Edwards’ mismanaged recovery continue to this day. In August 2019, The Advocate reported that “[t]hree years after floods swept across portions of southern Louisiana, only 36 percent of homeowners who applied for help through the Restore Louisiana program have been approved for grants and about one-third have received checks for repairs…”

“John Bel Edwards failed the test of leadership when Louisianans needed him the most. His administration’s lack of accountability and bureaucratic bungling has let vulnerable Louisianans down for more than three years,” said RGA Communications Director Amelia Chassé Alcivar. “If leaving tens of thousands still awaiting the aid he promised years ago qualifies as a ‘B+’ in his book, then John Bel Edwards clearly has a different definition of success than most Louisianans.”