Golden Fleece is back – Federal Aviation Administration first winner

The Golden Fleece Award for wasteful government spending is back, this time in the hands of a nonprofit, the Los Angeles Times reported July 6.

The award was originally the invention of former U.S. Senator William Proxmire. Every month for 13 years, the Wisconsin Democrat singled out a particular “wasteful, ridiculous or ironic use of the taxpayers’ money” for recognition.

Proxmire retired in 1989, and the Golden Fleece with him.

At least until Taxpayers for Common Sense, a nonprofit that has named Proxmire its honorary chairman, decided to revive the prize.

The first of the new, quarterly fleeces was awarded Wednesday in Tampa, Fla. to the Federal Aviation Administration.

The group accuses the FAA of allowing below-market leases at a 155-acre development near Tampa International Airport. In return for federal funds, airports are supposed to make every effort to be financially self-sustaining.

FAA spokesman Paul A. Turque told the Times the property is owned by the Hillsborough County Aviation Authority and the FAA has checked into the rents.

“We don’t feel there’s any cause for further investigation at this time,” Turque said.

Ralph DeGennaro, president of Taxpayers for Common Sense, can reel off a long list of projects worthy of the award.

“I don’t lay awake at night worrying that I’ll be out of a job,” he said.

For full story, go to the Los Angeles Times.

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