By KEVIN FREKING, Associated Press
Posted: 10/17/2011 03:06:29 PM PDT
Updated: 10/17/2011 03:07:27 PM PDT
WASHINGTON — California lawmakers who employed a treasurer facing federal embezzlement charges reported some steep financial losses to their campaigns, with Democratic Rep. Linda Sanchez taking the hardest hit of $322,000.
Sanchez was among the hundreds of Democratic candidates and committees in California who used Kinde Durkee as their treasurer. Federal prosecutors have accused Durkee of siphoning nearly $700,000 from a California assemblyman, but the case took on more significance when she told authorities she had misappropriated money from other Democratic lawmakers over the years.
Sanchez’ sister, Rep. Loretta Sanchez, also employed Durkee and reported a $125,000 loss. This past weekend, her campaign reported the missing money to the Federal Election Commission as an “adjustment for embezzled funds.” Another California Democrat, Rep. Susan Davis, reported that $160,000 was missing and used the same description.
The lawmakers had acknowledged previously that their campaigns had suffered steep losses, but the quarterly fundraising reports provided the first official accounting to federal regulators of specific losses.
The totals are estimates at best. First California Bank, which administered the Durkee accounts, has told a state court that the money in the various accounts had been mixed together and that it cannot say for certain how much each account should have in it.
The campaigns were required to submit their quarterly fundraising and spending reports by Saturday.
Sen. Dianne Feinstein’s campaign disclosed on Friday that her campaign account lost about $4.7 million.
Her campaign had about $5.2 million in the bank going into July. Meanwhile, the bank estimated last month that about $650,000 were still in her accounts. Those two numbers were used by the campaign to estimate the amount of money lost.
Feinstein’s new treasurer, William Wardlaw, said in a letter to the FEC that it’s “possible and perhaps likely that additional information will be located in the coming weeks and months which will require an amendment to this report.”
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