Elected officials notified of possible campaign fund fraud
Several clients of Kinde Durkee, a prominent campaign treasurer who was arrested Friday on a federal fraud charge, have reported that they were contacted by the FBI or U.S. attorney’s office about the criminal investigation.
Durkee was arrested from the office of her business, Durkee & Associates, in Burbank on one charge of mail fraud and is scheduled to be arraigned Tuesday in Los Angeles. She had served as campaign treasurers on hundreds of political campaigns over the years, working for federal, state and local candidates.
Officials have so far said only that the charge relates to Durkee’s work for a California Assembly member but have not disclosed which member or when.
Assemblyman Jose Solorio (D-Santa Ana) said Sunday that the FBI notified him Friday that Durkee might have embezzled from his campaign. He declined to comment further on the details pending Durkee’s arraignment.
“I hired her because she was regarded as a highly respected professional and for decades the treasurer for the campaigns of many prominent elected officials in the state,” Solorio said in a statement.
Bill Carrick, a longtime campaign consultant for U.S. Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.), said he had received a call from the U.S. attorney’s office Friday saying that Durkee was going to be arrested on charges relating to her work for a California state campaign. Carrick described the call as a courtesy notice and said he was unsure whether Feinstein’s campaign account was involved.
Earlier, state Sen. Lou Correa (D-Santa Ana) said the FBI notified him of the arrest Friday evening and told him that his campaign fund might have been the victim of embezzlement of a “substantial amount,” possibly totaling hundreds of thousands of dollars.
Durkee had been fined by the Fair Political Practices Commission several times in connection with campaign reporting violations. In 2008, the Los Angeles County district attorney’s public integrity unit served a search warrant on Durkee’s office in connection with an investigation into a committee called Citizens for Dependable and Reliable Leadership, for which Durkee served as treasurer. Dave Demerjian, head of the integrity unit, said that investigation was closed.
The committee was fined $2,000 by the City Ethics Commission for failing to submit copies of campaign mailers in a timely way for the public to review.
Representatives of Durkee & Associates could not be reached for comment.
-- Abby Sewell
Photo: State Sen. Lou Correa on June 15 in Sacramento.The FBI has notified him that his campaign fund might have been the victim of embezzlement. Credit: Rich Pedroncelli / Associated Press