The enormity of the Kindee Durkee scandal still hasn’t completely sunk in. A number of elected Democrats and Democratic candidates are still assessing the damage to their accounts. But for Durkee, the damage is done. The local newspapers are doing a great job covering the story and each day’s newest detail is as shocking as the day before.
While she hasn’t been convicted in a court of law, Durkee’s professional reputation is now in tatters with misappropriated funds reported from the coffers of Rep. Loretta Sanchez, Senator Dianne Feinstein, to State Rep. Jose Solorio and State Senator Lou Correa, to congressional candidate and Irvine Mayor Sukhee Kang. The totals amount of nearly a million dollars, so one has to wonder, “where did the money go?”
We’re getting lots of questions and we’re aksing a lot of questions; who else was hit and for how much? Hard to say as the banks have frozens some accounts pending forensic evaluations. From statements issued by Rep. Sanchez’s office, paperwork sent by Durkee & Associates matched their internal accounting records which implies deliberate fraud. Another great question is, “if you gave money to a candidate and it’s gone, and they didn’t spend it, can you give again?” We honestly don’t know. And we can’t find anyone who can answer that one and I’m tired of hearing, “wow, that’s a great question” when I ask.
You have to wonder what happened to all the money? People who mismanage their own financial affairs usually have the option of bankruptcy and in this economy with so many homes under water and a tough job market out there, one has to wonder about Durkee & Associates.
The simple fact here is the clients of Durkee & Associates her are all victims. These candidates spend considerable time raising funds to fight the good fight on behalf of progressive issues only to discover they have been betrayed by someone they trust. People trusted Durkee. But she clearly showed a public face to her clients while hiding activities in secret. The money comes from friends, family members, loans to their campaigns, political associates, organizations who support what these candidates stand for, and political supporters. And they neede us now more than ever.
So where do we go from here?
Other victims will surely come forward. They will need to replace funds in order to run in 2012. Money talks in Orange County. These Democratic electeds and candidates affected by Durkee & Associates activities will you (and us) to come to their fundraisers. And give. You should go and give and know how hard it is for them to ask for money from you ask they ask for your support, your money and your trust when their own trust was so violated. Many politicos don’t have a lot to say because there is still so much not known.
There’s no question, the Party is taking a hit for this crime and this violation of trust. But the blame falls squarely on the accused and not those who were victims. Let’s dust outselves off, right the ship and set a new course with a new purpose. There is still considerable time between now and the November 2012 election. We should see the Durkee case for what it is; an opportunity to come together and commit outselves to Democratic ideals for our candidates in OC. And to win.