"Boondoggle" googled follows below:
BOONDOGGLE: An unnecessary or wasteful project.
This typically North American term is often applied in two specific ways, either to describe work of little or no value done merely to appear busy, or in reference to a government-funded project with no purpose other than political patronage. It can also be used for an unnecessary journey by a government official at public expense.
Part of its oddity lies in its sudden emergence into public view in an article in the New York Times on 4 April 1935. This had the headline "$3,187,000 Relief is Spent to Teach Jobless to Play ... Boon Doggles Made". The "boon doggles" of the headline turn out to be small items of leather, rope and canvas, which were being crafted by the jobless during the Great Depression as a form of make-work. The article said that the word was "simply a term applied back in the pioneer days to what we call gadgets today". It was suggested that boondoggles were small items of leatherwork which were made by cowboys on idle days as decorations for their saddles.
The name of Robert H Link, a scoutmaster of Rochester, also often turns up when people write about this word. It is sometimes said that he invented it, certainly that he used it for the braided leather lanyards made and worn by Boy Scouts, or for other small craft projects intended to keep Scouts out of mischief.
Whatever its origin, it was the article in the New York Times that converted boondoggle from a word existing quietly in its own little world to one of public importance.