Jared Huffman

Audit: US misuses taxpayer cash for California water project

The U.S. Interior Department improperly contributed $85 million in taxpayer funds to help pay for a giant California water project backed by Gov. Jerry Brown, despite pledges from Brown and other state and federal authorities that local water districts would bear all the costs, a federal audit said Friday.

California law and an agreement by the water districts dictate that California's politically influential water districts are supposed to bear the costs of Brown's $16 billion proposal to re-engineer California's shipment of water by building dozens of miles of tunnels to tap into the state's largest river, the Sacramento.

In 2011, Brown and the then-secretary of the...