fail the smell test

fail the smell test

To be morally questionable, unacceptable, or untrustworthy. The new pro-drilling bill that's being put through Congress certainly fails the smell test, and many are suspicious that Big Oil has been responsible for its inception.
See also: fail, smell, test
References in periodicals archive ?
The Supreme Court's anointment of lawyers with authority to evade the constitutional billing constraint will fail the smell test in the nostrils of the voting public, especially that portion already cynical of "judicial imperialism." Many people, including our justices, are rightly alarmed by "conservative" daggers aimed at "judicial activism" that protects individuals against government more fully than critics think the constitution requires.
This technique would not go very far if the charities themselves put up a big stop sign and said, "No way!" But apparently some charities are so hungry for donations that they will countenance transactions that fail the smell test. These charities really should be ashamed of themselves.