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Founder and Director: Lawrence J. McQuillan
Associate Directors: Craig Eyermann and K. Lloyd Billingsley

Every three months, the Independent Institute highlights a state or local spending program, tax, or regulation that fleeces California taxpayers, consumers, or businesses. On occasion, the awards also spotlight a federal program that disproportionately harms Californians.

The California Golden Fleece Awards expose waste, fraud, and abuse in California government. To receive this ignoble designation, a spending program, tax, or regulation must violate common-sense principles of responsible government, be considered wasteful by people of varying political philosophies, and must be well documented.

Submit a Candidate We encourage people—both inside and outside of government—to send us Fleece candidates. Public participation will help make the California Golden Fleece Awards a more valuable resource for exposing government waste, increasing transparency, and holding government at all levels accountable.

 Winner: Fall 2017
The California Department of Water Resources For its reckless mismanagement of Oroville Dam—which caused a near catastrophe in February 2017—California’s Department of Water Resources (DWR) has been named the fourth recipient of the California Golden Fleece Award. Ownership of DWR dams should be transferred to responsible private parties as part of a modernization of the state’s outdated legacy water system.

 Winner: Spring 2017
CAL FIRE The California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection—CAL FIRE—has won the third California Golden Fleece Award due to poor handling of fire safety and costs, severe lack of accountability to taxpayers and landowners, and numerous scandals which make it a hindrance to the state.

 Winner: Summer 2016
The California Department of Transportation (Caltrans) The California Department of Transportation (Caltrans) won the second California Golden Fleece Award for its waste of taxpayer money, while at the same time demanding more funding. Caltrans should be drastically scaled back as part of broader reforms to modernize California’s highways.

 Winner: Spring 2016
California’s High-Speed Rail Authority The California High-Speed Rail Authority won the first California Golden Fleece Award for its lack of transparency and history of misleading the public about key details of the state’s “bullet-train” project, which no longer reflect what voters approved in 2008.

Additional award winners coming soon!



News
“Cal Fire Must Prioritize Prevention” Sr. Fellow Lawrence McQuillan, author of California Burning: CAL FIRE Wins Dishonor of the California Golden Fleece Award Op-Ed in The San Francisco Chronicle Tue., Oct. 31, 2017
“Oroville Dam: Independent Institute Report Calls for DWR to Transfer Dam Ownership” Independent Institute California Golden Fleece Award and Sr. Fellow Lawrence McQuillan cited in The Chico Enterprise-Record and other MediaNews group newspapers Sun., Oct. 22, 2017
“Dubious Dam Award-DWR Gets Booby Prize for Oroville Dam Debacle” Independent Institute’s California Golden Fleece Award cited in Chico News & Review Thu., Oct. 19, 2017
“Repeal California’s Gas Tax increase, says GOP Candidate for Governor” Independent Institute’s Golden Fleece Award cited in Op-Ed in The San Francisco Chronicle Wed., Oct. 18, 2017
“The CalTrans Record of Shame” California Golden Fleece Award mentioned on Fox & Hounds Wed., Apr. 5, 2017
“Caltrans Wins Golden Fleece Award for Its $10 Billion Highway Robbery-Update” Independent Institute’s California Golden Fleece Award featured on CA Political Review Mon., Nov. 7, 2016
Sr. Fellow Lawrence McQuillan and Independent Institute’s CA Golden Fleece Award cited in Redding Record Searchlight (CA) editorial Mon., Sep. 12, 2016
Sr. Fellow Lawrence McQuillan and Independent Institute’s CA Golden Fleece Award cited in The Sacramento Bee editorial Wed., Sep. 7, 2016
Sr. Fellow Lawrence McQuillan and Independent Institute’s CA Golden Fleece Award cited in The Orange County Register editorial Sun., Sep. 4, 2016
“California Transportation Needs Budget, Efficiency Reforms, Not More Taxes” Sr. Fellow Lawrence McQuillan and Independent Institute’s CA Golden Fleece Award cited in LA Daily News editorial Sun., Sep. 4, 2016
“Caltrans Wins Golden Fleece Award for Its $10 Billion Highway Robbery” California State Senator John Morloch issues press release on Independent Institute’s CA Golden Fleece Award Fri., Aug. 26, 2016
California Golden Fleece Award featured on Paradigms and Demographics Tue., Aug. 23, 2016
California Golden Fleece Award featured on FreedomBunker.com Tue., Aug. 23, 2016
“Caltrans Wins Golden Fleece Award for Its $10 Billion Highway Robbery” Independent Institute’s California Golden Fleece Award featured on CA Political Review Tue., Aug. 23, 2016
“California’s High-Speed Rail Authority Wins Dishonor of the California Golden Fleece Award” Sr. Fellow Lawrence McQuillan and Policy Researcher Hayeon Carol Park cited in California Political Review Thu., May. 12, 2016
Independent Institute’s California Golden Fleece Award cited on NewGeography.com Thu., May. 12, 2016
“A Waste Of Money” Independent Institute’s California Golden Fleece Award cited in Right on the Left Coast blog Wed., Apr. 20, 2016
“California High-Speed Rail Wins Dubious ‘Golden Fleece’ Award” Independent Institute’s CA Golden Fleece Award featured on Breitbart.com Tue., Apr. 19, 2016
“California has MORE to be Proud Of: High Speed Rail Wins Golden Fleece Award” Independent Institute cited on California Political Review Mon., Apr. 18, 2016
“Better Fix for Fixing Roads” Independent Institute’s California Golden Fleece Award mentioned in editorial in The Press-Enterprise (Riverside, CA) Mon., Apr. 18, 2016


Events
Sr. Fellow Lawrence McQuillan to speak at Rotary Club of Sonoma Valley about the California Golden Fleece Awards on November 2, 2016 Wed., Nov. 2, 2016
Sr. Fellow Lawrence McQuillan, Founder and Director of the California Golden Fleece Awards to speak at the Sonoma County Taxpayers’ Association in Santa Rosa, CA on Thursday, July 21 Thu., Jul. 21, 2016
Sr. Fellow Lawrence McQuillan, Founder and Director of the California Golden Fleece Awards to speak at the Economic Roundtable of San Francisco on Wednesday, July 20 Wed., Jul. 20, 2016
Sr. Fellow Lawrence McQuillan, author of California Dreaming to speak at the California Liberty Summit in Fresno, California Fri., May. 20, 2016





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