L.A. Democratic Party Lost More Than $200,000 In Kinde Durkee Campaign Finance Scandal
Update, 5:18 p.m.: Durkee to be released tonight. See below.
The L.A. County Democratic Party confirmed today that it has been victimized in the still-unfolding scandal surrounding campaign treasurer Kinde Durkee.
More than $200,000 is missing from the local party's bank account. "We've suffered a very substantial loss," said Eric Bauman, chair of the local party.
Durkee kept the books for hundreds of campaigns and committees, and the full tally of the losses may not be known for some time.
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Staffers for Rep. Loretta Sanchez, a Democrat from Orange County, told Politico that her campaign account had been "nearly wiped out."
Many others are still waiting to hear from their banks.
For the L.A. Democratic Party, the good news is that there is still enough money in the account to make payroll. But the party will be hampered when it comes to funding candidates in under-the-radar races for school board and community college districts, Bauman said.
"We're trying to defend school board members who voted for project labor agreements and union contracts," Bauman said.
The party will soon have to focus on fundraising, in order to make back the losses.
Durkee is accused of pocketing nearly $700,000 from the campaign account of Orange County Assemblyman Jose Solorio. According to the FBI, Durkee admitted she had been misappropriating campaign funds "for years."
She allegedly used Solorio's money to pay back other clients, to pay her own mortgages and taxes, and for personal expenses like cosmetics and trips to Disneyland and the Long Beach Aquarium.
Update, 5:18 p.m.: Durkee made an appearance in federal court this afternoon, at which her bond was set at $200,000. She is expected to be released from the Metropolitan Detention Center tonight. She is due in federal court in Sacramento on Oct. 19, said Thom Mrozek, a spokesman for the U.S. Attorney's Office.
As a condition of her release, Durkee was ordered not to access her business accounts or the accounts of any clients. She was also ordered not to travel outside of the Los Angeles area, except to attend court in Sacramento.
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