Treasurer 'Fleeced Calif. Dems Out of $7M'

Kinde Durkee expected to plead guilty to biggest-ever campaign embezzlement
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Mar 28, 2012 2:19 AM CDT
This 2008 photo provided by the California Democratic Council shows Kinde Durkee at a California Democratic Council Leadership Training session.   (AP Photo/California Democratic Council,File)

(Newser) – The woman California's Democrats once considered their most reliable treasurer scammed dozens of candidates, officeholders, and organizations out of at least $7 million over a decade, prosecutors say. Kinde Durkee—who was dubbed the "Madoff of campaign treasurers" after her arrest in September—is expected to plead guilty this week to the biggest embezzlement case in US election history, and will face up to 14 years in jail, sources tell Politico.

Prosecutors say Durkee used politicians' cash to cover her personal expenses, including mortgage payments, baseball tickets, and credit card bills, and shuffled money between different clients' account to cover up her pilfering. Sen. Dianne Feinstein believes that Durkee stole $5 million from her campaign alone over the years, although investigators are finding the money difficult to track. Feinstein, one of the wealthiest senators, wrote her campaign a $5 million check to cover the loss.

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