GOP candidate caught exaggerating charity work from almost a decade ago


Louisiana's Rep. Ralph Abraham continues to brag about charitable work he did half a dozen years ago as if it were yesterday.

On the campaign trail, Rep. Ralph Abraham (R-LA) wants voters to think he volunteers as a pilot with a charity that flies sick patients to top-notch hospitals for care. However, Abraham hasn't flown for the charity in almost a decade, according to evidence uncovered by American Bridge, a progressive research organization.

Abraham, a candidate vying to take on Democratic Gov. John Bel Edwards in Louisiana's 2019 gubernatorial election, implied as recently as May that he is currently a volunteer pilot with Pilots for Patients, a Monroe-based nonprofit that provides free transportation to Louisiana residents who need medical treatment.

"We also work for a wonderful organization, as a pilot, called 'Pilots for Patients.' We take cancer patients to M-D Anderson; St. Jude; or wherever they need to go," Abraham said, according to KTBS.

In March of this year, the Monroe News Star wrote that Abraham is actively involved with the charitable organization. In February, after he had announced his candidacy for governor, Abraham told a group of Republican women that he currently volunteers as a pilot with Pilots for Patients.

But the last time Abraham was active as a pilot with the organization was in 2013, half a dozen years ago.

In 2015, the president of the charity told the Times-Picayune that Abraham "used to volunteer as a pilot with the group before joining Congress." Abraham joined Congress in 2015.

Further, when Abraham was a volunteer, he didn't fly enough flights to be recognized on the charity's website. The site lists all pilots who have taken 20 or more flights to help patients, which includes 40 names. One pilot has flown 296 flights to aid patients, and he is among 11 pilots to make more than 100 flights for the organization.

Abraham's final flight for the organization appears to have been in March 2013, and it was his 15th. There is no evidence Abraham has flown any flights since then.

His campaign website touts Abraham's "honest leadership" as one of his key attributes, yet Abraham has made no effort to correct the record when newspapers touted him as an active pilot with the organization.

Pilots for Patients provides a valuable service to those in need. But they are doing that good work without Abraham volunteering as a pilot, just like they have been for the past half a dozen years.

Published with permission of The American Independent Foundation.