California Dems rocked by campaign embezzlement

Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) said that her campaign accounts were "wiped out" by Treasurer Kinde Durkee, a prominent California political money manager arrested earlier this month on allegations of fraud.

“I was wiped out too, we don’t know how much,” said Feinstein to Politico.

Durkee is accused of stealing more than $670,000 from the reelection committee of a California state assemblyman; the financier controlled accounts for dozens of California Democrats. Prosecutors say more charges are likely as the extent of Durkee's activities are revealed; it is believed she diverted the funds to cover both personal and business expenses, including payments for her mother's nursing home.

The California senator says that she is unsure of how much Durkee might have taken, since her campaign has been unable to access the accounts since her arrest. According to a Feinstein campaign adviser, Durkee shuffled funds between accounts, making the actual amount stolen from any one party difficult to determine. Durkee has worked on every Feinstein campaign since 1992.

Among the victims are House Reps. Susan Davis, Loretta Sanchez, Linda Sanchez and Laura Richardson.

Davis sent a letter to contributors telling them that her campaign lost nearly a quarter of a million dollars and that "we have been robbed!"

"As this scandal emerges, she may well become known as the Bernie Madoff of campaign finance treasurers," Davis said.

Durkee was released last week on a $200,000 bond.

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