Feds: Treasurer Used Campaign Funds For Cosmetics, Ice Cream, Mother’s Nursing Home Bill

September 6, 2011 12:00 pm

Prominent Democratic campaign treasurer Kinde Durkee, arrested in California on mail fraud charges over the weekend, routinely moved substantial sums of money out of the accounts of her clients and into the coffers of her firm, federal authorities alleged in a newly released criminal complaint on Tuesday.An affidavit from an FBI agent alleges that Durkee, who has served as treasurer on hundreds of political campaigns, took money from campaign funds that she controlled and used the money to pay her own personal and business expenses. She also allegedly used cash from some campaigns to cover shortfalls in the accounts of other campaigns.

Specifically, Durkee allegedly took nearly $700,000 out of the account of California Assemblyman Joe Solorio. Some of that cash ended up in the campaign account for Rep. Loretta Sanchez, but there isn’t any suggestion that the California Democrat knew what was taking place.

Durkee, head of the California firm Durkee & Associates, had signature authority for more than 400 bank accounts. She allegedly used money from various political campaigns to pay her mortgage, American Express bills for everything from Ulta cosmetics to Baskin Robbins purchases, and even the bill for her mother’s care at an assisted living facility.

In an interview with an FBI agent, Durkee allegedly said that she used the D&A business account to pay for her daily living expenses, including her food, entertainment and mortgages.

The San Francisco Chronicle points out that it first reported in 2007 that Durkee was involved with a fake “Californians for Obama” campaign that ripped off state residents who donated to an effort which sent no money to the actual Obama campaign.

Read the full complaint here.

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