Scandal sapped Dems' campaign funds

Sept. 13, 2011 at 10:48 AM
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SACRAMENTO, Sept. 13 (UPI) -- Sen. Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif., said she was "wiped out" by a state operative who was treasurer for campaign committees then later arrested on fraud charges.

Kinde Durkee, who acted as treasurer for hundreds of state, local and federal campaign committees, was arrested by the FBI Sept. 2 on allegations of fraud concerning the diversion of more than $670,000 from the re-election committee for a California state assemblyman. However, the list of apparent victims has grown to include Feinstein and Reps. Susan Davis and Loretta Sanchez, Politico reported Monday.

"I was wiped out too, we don't know how much," said Feinstein.

She indicated her losses in campaign funds could run into hundreds of thousands of dollars, possibly millions. Feinstein, seeking re-election next year, reported just more than $5 million in the bank as of June 30, disclosure reports filed with the Federal Election Commission indicated.

Durkee worked on Feinstein's campaigns since the early 1990s, the senator told Politico, adding "I trusted her implicitly."

Davis said more than $250,000 was missing from her re-election committee, Politico said. Sanchez said Durkee "nearly wiped out" her $379,000 war chest. The Los Angeles County Democratic Party reported it lost at least $200,000, while California Assemblyman Jose Solorio may have lost as much as $677,000.

Durkee hasn't been formally accused in the missing funds from the campaign accounts of Feinstein, Davis or Sanchez.

The Justice Department alleged Durkee moved money from a Solorio account into an account she controlled, then wrote a $125,000 check to Sanchez's campaign before last November's elections. Durkee reportedly used the money cover business and personal expenses, officials said.

Durkee was released on $200,000 bond Friday on the conditions she stay in the region and not be involved with her company or its clients.

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