Karen Ocamb

Financial Scandal Screws CA Dems, 'Wipes Out' Feinstein

Filed By Karen Ocamb | September 18, 2011 4:00 PM | comments

Filed in: Politics
Tags: Bernie Madoff, California Democrats, Dianne Feinstein, Jose Solorio, Kinde Durkee, Loretta Sanchez, Susan A. Davis

For many years, California Democratic politicians and elected officials trusted Kinde Durkee as their campaign treasurer. Now she's being compared to Bernie Madoff.

On Tuesday, Sen. Dianne Feinstein said hers was among the 400 accounts Durkee handled and her campaign coffers may have been “wiped out.” And the way California campaign laws work, if a contributor maxed out, the politician cannot go back to that donor and ask for another contribution, even if the money was stolen. That may well put the Los Angeles County Democratic Party in a difficult financial position going into the 2012 elections.

The Los Angeles Times reported:

Kinde Durkee is accused of taking thousands of dollars from the campaigns of several elected officials, including Rep. Loretta Sanchez (D-Garden Grove), Rep. Susan A. Davis (D-San Diego) and Assemblyman Jose Solorio (D-Santa Ana). The Los Angeles County Democratic Party reported that more than $200,000 had been taken from its fund.

Durkee, head of Durkee & Associates, was arrested by the FBI on Sept. 2. A federal affidavit said she admitted misappropriating clients’ funds for years and filing false federal campaign forms.

Durkee, who has not entered a plea on federal mail fraud charges, was released Friday on $200,000 bond.

But The Times reported earlier that openly gay Chris Kehoe had raised a red flag:

One longtime client, state Sen. Christine Kehoe (D-San Diego), fired Durkee in 2009 and notified the district attorney’s office after an audit of her campaign fund by the state Franchise Tax Board turned up “irregular activities.” Kehoe’s office declined to elaborate to The Times about her concerns.

At Tuesday night's meeting of the LA County Democratic Club, openly gay chair Eric Bauman tried to explain to the crowd and to Fox 11 what happened:

More California Democrats Say Accounts Were Looted by Treasurer: MyFoxLA.com

(Image: Kindee Durkee (Photo screen capture from Fox LA). Crossposted at LGBT POV)

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Yikes! Wow. This sounds really unfortunate.