Democratic Party of Orange County Central Committee members learned of a settlement agreement with the Federal Election’s Commission (FEC) on Monday night to settle allegations of federal campaign finance law violations found during an FEC audit. The agreement includes the payment of a $2,500 fine.
For the majority of the Central Committee members this was the first time they had been told of the audit or the potential fines the party was facing. Chairman Frank Barbaro told the members that the violations were due to the failure of former Treasurer Kindee Durkee to deposit checks and credit card transactions in a timely manner during the 2008 election cycle.
“The original suggested fine, for us having done nothing wrong, nothing under the table, for simply sitting there and watching Kindee Durkee do us, was $25,000, said Barbaro. “David Gould (Accountant/Treasurer) was able to get that down to $2,500. So at the Executive Board meeting a couple of Mondays ago, we voted to go ahead and pay it.”
Durkee has been accused of stealing possibly millions of dollars in campaign funds from dozens of Democratic elected officials including Orange County’s Congresswoman Loretta Sanchez, State Senator Lou Correa, Assemblyman Jose Solorio, and the Orange County Young Democrats, to name a few.
The Orange County Register reported on the findings by the FEC back on September 30, 2011. That information however never made it to the Executive Board or the Central Committee for their November meetings. They were apparently distracted by the efforts of some members of the Central Committee, including Chairman Barbaro, to remove Treasurer Reggie Mundekis from office. Monday night’s meeting was the first since that effort failed. Mundekis apparently dropped the bombshell at the Executive Board meeting after having learned of the FEC audit and negotiations from David Gould.