Sen. William Proxmire, D-Wis., said Sunday the State Department won his monthly Golden Fleece award for bungling $15 million in travel advances and trying to conceal its errors under false accounts - including one for Ludwig Van Beethoven.

Proxmire said the State Department has effectively been giving interest-free loans or handouts to employees by lax efforts to collect unused portions of travel advances.Proxmire, who is leaving the Senate after serving five full terms, grants the dubious award each month to a government agency that he says has provided an outstanding example of ridiculous, ironic or wasteful spending.

The senator said the State Department regularly provides travel expense money to its employees, then fails to monitor the accounts properly, resulting in delayed repayments and, in some cases, no payment at all.