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Durkee may be 'Bernie Madoff of campaign treasurers,' Rep. Davis says

September 12, 2011 |  7:12 pm

The Democratic campaign operative arrested on suspicion of stealing campaign funds from her clients may be "the Bernie Madoff of campaign treasurers," Rep. Susan Davis (D-San Diego) told contributors in an email.

Kinde Durkee, a Burbank accountant who handled funds for numerous local, state and congressional candidates, is accused of stealing more than $250,000 from the Davis campaign, the email said.

"Our treasurer was arrested and is accused of funneling hundreds of thousands of dollars, maybe millions, to herself from our campaign, and the campaigns of many, many others," Davis said in the "Dear Friends" email.

Davis said her campaign, however, is not without funds because it had a reserve account that Durkee could not access: "This leaves us with funds to fight back and renew our campaign."

Among the politicians who may have lost all their campaign funds is Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.)

"I was wiped out too, we don’t know how much,” Feinstein told Politico.

Feinstein, who is up for reelection next year, reported more than $5 million in the bank as of June 30, according to disclosure reports filed with the Federal Election Commission.

“She did my '92 campaign, my '94 campaign, my 2000 [campaign], my 2006 [campaign] … my gubernatorial campaign,” Feinstein said. “I trusted her implicitly. It's very painful.”

Feinstein said she and her campaign staff have been unable to access all their bank records because Durkee alone controlled access to the account.

Davis, who is seeking her seventh term, indicated that she will be asking her contributors for money.

"As many of you have often said to me, 'Please let me know when you really need my help' -- well I do now and I am not holding back."

Durkee has been charged with federal mail fraud for allegedly filing false campaign reports. She is scheduled to appear in court in Sacramento on Oct. 19.


Campaign accountant held in theft of funds 

Bail set for campaign treasurer arrested on fraud charge

Many Democrats used campaign treasurer despite her history

-- Tony Perry in San Diego

Photo: Rep. Susan Davis (D-San Diego). Credit: Davis website