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Agency weighs help for politicians affected by Kinde Durkee case

The state's ethics watchdog agency has set a meeting next week to consider whether campaign finance limits and spending report deadlines should be temporarily waived for politicians affected by the alleged misuse of funds by campaign treasurer Kinde Durkee.

Ann Ravel, chairwoman of the state Fair Political Practices Commission, said she and the staff will hold the public meeting Sept. 30 to hear from campaigns concerning whether a federal investigation of Durkee, which has resulted in many bank accounts being frozen, requires flexibility in complying with rules regarding funding of campaigns.

Durkee is accused of taking thousands of dollars from the campaign accounts of numerous elected officials, including Assemblyman Jose Solorio (D-Santa Ana). "This is mainly in response to the massive impact of the Durkee situation," Ravel said of the FPPC staff meeting. "There are so many questions that people have raised, and I think it's fair for people to come to us with other issues they have."

Current law would prevent state candidates from going back to supporters who maxed out on giving to replenish their campaign accounts, but the limits could be temporarily raised for those people by the Legislature. The FPPC may also provide extensions for filing financial paperwork to candidates whose campaign accounts were handled by Durkee and have been frozen by banks.

"There have been all these issues about whether the banks will even give them information about their accounts, and so it will be hard for them to comply with some of the requirements that we have,'' Ravel said. "We are going to be sensitive to those concerns." The meeting will begin at 10 a.m. at the commission's Sacramento office, 428 J Street, Suite 800.

-- Patrick McGreevy in Sacramento

 
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