Sen. Dianne Feinstein is digging into her own pocket to warn off potential opponents who might think she's vulnerable because of the Kinde Durkee campaign finance scandal.
Feinstein intends to write herself a check for $5 million, according to strategist Bill Carrick, confirming a report that first appeared in Politico.
Feinstein is up for re-election next year. A recent Field Poll gave her a 41% approval rating, suggesting she could be vulnerable. So far, though, no Republicans have announced.
"Obviously we want to make sure nobody jumps in the race because they think she doesn't have the money," Carrick said.
It's hard to see how anyone would make that mistake. According to Open Secrets, Feinstein is the 7th richest member of the U.S. Senate. Her net worth, as of 2009, was anywhere between $48 million and $110 million.
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Durkee, a veteran campaign treasurer, has been charged with taking nearly $700,000 from Jose Solorio, an Orange County Assemblyman. According to the FBI, she admitted she has been misappropriating clients' money "for years."
The extent of the financial losses remains a mystery. Though Feinstein said last week that she was "wiped out" in the Durkee scandal, it's still not clear how much money she lost -- or whether she lost any at all.
As of June 30, Feinstein had $5 million in the bank. First California Bank has refused to release account information to Durkee's clients unless they sign a waiver saying they will not sue the bank. The bank subsequently announced it would not be releasing money because it appeared that the funds had been commingled. Instead it will seek guidance from the court.
State regulators have also been dispatched to the bank to investigate, according to the L.A. Times.