Kinde Durkee ‘Nearly Wiped Out’ Loretta Sanchez’s Campaign Fund

September 9, 2011 8:09 a.m.

Veteran California campaign treasurer Kinde Durkee “nearly wiped out” the $379,000 in Rep. Loretta Sanchez’s campaign war chest, Politico’s Jonathan Allen and John Bresnahan report.

“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.

A major player in the California campaign finance world, Durkee had an extensive list of clients in California, according to the Secretary of State’s office. On the federal level, Federal Election Commission records show she was treasurer for 161 various committees over the course of her career.

Durkee allegedly admitted to the FBI that she misappropriated her clients’ money for years and routinely moved money between her clients’ accounts.

Aides to Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-CA) declined to comment to Politico on whether her campaign fund was missing any money.

Late update: Ben Smith has the email Sanchez sent out to her list about Durkee’s arrest:

As you may have heard, my campaign treasurer, Kinde Durkee, was arrested earlier this week on charges of stealing more than $600,000 from one of her Orange County based clients.

Unfortunately, upon reviewing my campaign account, I too am a victim. Nearly all of the funds my team and I worked hard to raise this year have been wiped out.

This is a disheartening betrayal by a trusted associate. The records Durkee & Associates sent to me on a weekly basis accurately reflected our internal records — including the amount we raised, the incoming and outgoing funds from our accounts, and our cash on hand. In reality, our accounts have but a few thousand dollars.

But I am moving forward. Fighting for each and every one of you is and will always be my top priority. I am confident that through the help of friends, colleagues, and you, we will rebuild and be stronger than ever….

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