An award given in the United States by the group Taxpayers for Common Sense to recognize the worst failures of fiscal responsibility in government.

The Award was first given by US Senator William Proxmire (D-WI) in March 1975 to the National Science Foundation for having conducted a study on why people fall in love. He continued to give out these awards montly until December 1988; the award has recently been revived as of July 2000.

The criteria for the Golden Fleece Award are:

  • Federal program that most Americans would consider wasteful
  • Violates "a principle of responsible government spending", not necessarily an expensive project
  • Must never have received national media coverage

Other recipients have included the Army, for spending $6,000 on a 17-page specification for bottled Worcestershire sauce, and NIMH, for funding a study on why bowlers, hockey fans, and pedestrians smile.

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