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Congressman French Hill

Representing the 2nd District of Arkansas

The Golden Fleece Award

Every year, Congress appropriates trillions of dollars to fund the federal government, and every year the federal government wastes portions of these funds in unconscionable ways. As a member of Congress, and as a taxpayer, this frustrates me to no end. In an attempt to increase accountability for every single government program, I have decided to bring back the Golden Fleece Award.

Originally introduced by Democratic U.S. Senator from Wisconsin William Proxmire in March of 1975, the Golden Fleece Award was a monthly bulletin on the most frivolous and wasteful uses of hardworking taxpayers’ dollars. The Golden Fleece Award became a staple in the U.S. Senate during this time, and Senator Robert Byrd once stated that the awards were “as much a part of the Senate as quorum calls and filibusters.”

In reviving this idea, the Golden Fleece Award will again have the opportunity to serve as an important reminder to taxpayers about the need for necessary, commonsense reforms to our federal spending. 

The Winners!


June and July 2017: The triple Golden Fleece award goes to the following: 

Trump administration has ended the Government’s preparedness protocol in regards to the Y2K bug that came and went 17 years ago, along with more than 50 other duplicative and burdensome paperwork requirements government agencies were previously faced with to help reduce costs and minimize staff hours.

The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid created the Electronic Health Record (EHR) program, but due to vague guidelines, the government made approximately $729 million to the EHR incentive payments to ineligible doctors. 

The Pentagon gave up control of uniform purchase for the Afghanistan National Army (ANA) and left the decision to the Afghan Defense Ministry, which ignored U.S. owned designs and wasted $28 million U.S. taxpayer dollars on proprietary forest uniforms for Afghan soldiers despite only 2 percent of the country being forest.  Changing the ANA uniform to a non-proprietary camouflage pattern based on the U.S. Army’s Battle Dress Uniform, similar to those procured for comparable ANP units, could save U.S. taxpayers between $68.61 million and $71.21 million over the next ten years.

May 2017: The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) for going $86 million over budget on their update to the Return Review Program (RRP) update to the Electronic Fraud Detection System (EFDS).

March 2017: The Department of Veterans Affairs for missing yet another deadline the ongoing solar panel construction debacle at the John L. McClellan Memorial Veterans Hospital in Little Rock.

January 2017: The entire Obama Administration would be the recipient of the Golden Fleece Award for January. A recent report from the American Action Forum found that the administration’s last minute environmental and other regulations would cost the U.S. economy $6 billion.

December 2016: The Washington Post published a report that Pentagon officials buried evidence of $125 billion in bureaucratic waste in 2015. Following the Post’s reporting, Congressman Hill announced the Department of Defense (DoD) would receive this month’s Golden Fleece Award.

October 2016: The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) for the agency’s failure to address thousands of vital, cost-saving recommendations from the Inspector General (IG) since 2000.

September 2016: The National Institutes of Health for spending $50,000 to study the eating habits of drunken college students.

August 2016: The Department of Veterans Affairs with the Golden Fleece Award for the mishandling of the $8 million solar panel project at the Little Rock VA Medical Center.

July 2016: The Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA) won the award after their own inspector general reported that Fannie Mae kept FHFA in the dark on a $36 million dollar cost overrun in the construction of their new headquarters in Washington.

June 2016: The entire federal government for  wasting $126 billion on overpayments last year. The overpayments were made on a litany of government programs, including Medicaid, Medicare, and Social Security.

April 2016: The U.S. Department of Labor for the proposed overtime rule that would increase costs for businesses, nonprofits, state agencies, and our nation's colleges and universities while limiting available for hard working employees across the United States. The rule will cost $5.6 million to the Arkansas Department of Tourism's operations.

February 2016: The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) for the distribution of $750 million in tax credits to unproven citizens and/or unlawfully present individuals in the United States.

January 2016: The General Services Administration (GSA) for the mismanagement of a $75 million building project for the Federal Protective Service (FPS)

December 2015: The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid for wasting $1.23 billion on Obamacare's failing Consumer Operated and Oriented Plans (CO-OPs).

November 2015: The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) is the November recipient of the Golden Fleece Award for their award of $142 million in bonuses to VA employees and the decision to allow two VA officials that manipulated the agency’s employee relocation program to keep the funds they received from defrauding hardworking taxpayers.

October 2015: The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) for washing $75 million annually for military-type purchase, including guns, body armor, and ammunition for EPA law enforcement agents.

September 2015: The federal government for spending $157 million and 3.4 million man hours in fiscal year 2012 on union activities. These activities can often be political in nature, and the biggest spender was the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA). Already plagued with scandal and mistreatment of our Nation’s heroes while refusing to hold its employees accountable, the VA directed over $46 million of its budget to union activity.

August 2015: The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development for wasting $104.4 million to support thousands of over-income families in public housing units throughout the United States while eligible, low-income families sit on public housing waiting lists.

July 2015: Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA) for its approval of approximately $4 million in raises for each of the CEOs of the government-sponsored enterprises (GSEs) Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac.

June 2015: U.S. Social Security Administration for spending $16.8 billion in overpayments.

Innaugural: U.S. Department of Veterans for their $8 million solar panel "fleecing" at the Little Rock VA.


Total Highlighted Waste

As of 11/3/2016:

$19.263 billion

How to submit

On Twitter with the hashtag #GoldenFleeceOversight or via email