“What we’ve learned this week is that unfortunately, the amount in our reelect account is substantially less than the amount we’ve raised this year, as well as the amount reflected in the records sent to us by Durkee & Associates,” Sanchez chief of staff Adrienne Elrod told Politico. “In fact, our account has been nearly wiped out.”
Durkee was arrested by the FBI on Friday on mail fraud charges. The feds said she used campaign funds for her own personal purposes, including paying her mortgage; her mother’s nursing home costs; and credit card charges for cosmetics and ice cream.
Dianne Feinstein says campaign funds ‘wiped out’ in fraud case
Sen. Dianne Feinstein said Monday that her campaign fund was “wiped out,” making her campaign another alleged victim of a campaign treasurer accused of fraud.
Feinstein, a California Democrat, told Politico that the losses from her fund are likely to be in the hundreds of thousands, if not more than $1 million. “I was wiped out too, we don’t know how much,” she told the news site.
Kinde Durkee was arrested on a federal fraud charge this month. She is accused of taking thousands of dollars from the campaigns of various elected officials.
Although many Democratic insiders expressed shock at Durkee’s arrest, it wasn’t the first sign of trouble. When the FBI started investigating Durkee in January, the Los Angeles County district attorney’s office and the state Fair Political Practices Commission were already looking at her use of campaign funds.
In the last decade, Durkee had racked up $185,860 in fines from the agency in eight cases, a record that commission head Ann Ravel said pointed to “quite serious” issues.
Durkee may be ‘Bernie Madoff of campaign treasurers,’ Rep. Davis says
The Democratic campaign operative arrested on suspicion of stealing campaign funds from her clients may be “the Bernie Madoff of campaign treasurers,” Rep. Susan Davis (D-San Diego) told contributors in an email.
Kinde Durkee, a Burbank accountant who handled funds for numerous local, state and congressional candidates, is accused of stealing more than $250,000 from the Davis campaign, the email said.
“Our treasurer was arrested and is accused of funneling hundreds of thousands of dollars, maybe millions, to herself from our campaign, and the campaigns of many, many others,” Davis said in the “Dear Friends” email.
Davis said her campaign, however, is not without funds because it had a reserve account that Durkee could not access: “This leaves us with funds to fight back and renew our campaign.”
Among the politicians who may have lost all their campaign funds is Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.)
“I was wiped out too, we don’t know how much,” Feinstein told Politico.