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Campaign treasurer Kinde Durkee fined by ethics agency

September 22, 2011 | 11:53 am

Already facing criminal charges in a separate case, campaign treasurer Kinde Durkee was fined Thursday by the state’s ethics watchdog agency for failing to properly report $76,000 in spending by the unsuccessful Assembly campaign of Stuart Waldman in 2008.

The state Fair Political Practices Commission approved $8,000 in fines against Durkee and Waldman, who is now president of the Valley Industry and Commerce Assn. in Los Angeles.

The penalty was also for a charge that Waldman failed to deposit personal funds in a campaign bank account before his committee incurred expenses and that he and Durkee failed to properly report vendor information for about $173,013 in payments.

"The public harm inherent in campaign reporting violations is that the public is deprived of important information such as the amounts expended by the campaign, the identities of the recipients of such expenditures and the reasons for such expenditures," the commission enforcement staff wrote in a memo on the violations.

The staff noted that the amount involved was significant, comprising about 29% of the reported spending by Waldman’s committee.

"Durkee has been a professional campaign treasurer for many years for numerous committees, and she has been the subject of previous Fair Political Practices Commission enforcement matters," the enforcement staff wrote in arguing for the fines. "Accordingly, she should have been aware of the requirements of the [Political Reform] Act."

Durkee is jointly liable with Waldman for $5,000 of the fines for two of the three violations, and agreed to the penalties.

In the separate case, Durkee was arrested earlier this month and accused of allegedly taking $677,181 from the campaign of Assemblyman Jose Solorio (D-Santa Ana) and using some of the money to pay her mortgage and business expenses, as well pay for visits to Disneyland and the Long Beach Aquarium.

Waldman said he was surprised by Durkee’s arrest. "I have known Kinde for 16 years and used her on every campaign I worked on and recommended her to numerous other campaigns," Waldman said in an email while traveling out of the country. "I was shocked by what happened."

He noted that candidates including himself rely in part on the fact that treasurers sign the campaign finance reports under penalty of perjury.

"As long as the bills get paid and the mail goes out you never really think about it," Waldman said.

FPPC Chief of Enforcement Gary Winuk said there are three other cases his office is investigating involving Durkee.

-- Patrick McGreevy 

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