COMMERCE, Calif. – A newspaper report says a Southern California water utility paid nearly $200,000 in taxpayer dollars for glowing coverage from a website that boosted its profile on Google.
The Los Angeles Times reports officials from the Central Basin Municipal Water District used public funds to pay for positive stories on a site to boost their Google ranking.
The utility paid News Hawks Review to post the articles on a professional-looking website that was indexed as a news site by Google.
Google removed the site from its search index Tuesday, following the Times' story.
The utility serves more than 2 million customers in southeast Los Angeles.
Terry Francke of Californians Aware says the utility wrongly spent public money to help elected water officials stay in office.