Sunday, October 23, 2011

Fraud case leaves California Democrats scrambling

While the extent of the losses isn't yet clear, the coffers of dozens of Democratic politicians have been frozen, prompting the crippled campaigns to ask the California Fair Political Practices Commission to permit further donations from contributors who have already given the maximum. Mary Slosson/Townhall

"It's quite clear that we can't just say 'the contribution limit is set aside'," California Fair Political Practices Commission chair Ann Ravel said, adding that the commission's legal team was researching what options were permissible by law.

(Dianne) Feinstein donated $5 million of her own money to her re-election bid after the campaign lost access to an estimated $5.2 million, Carrick said. The senator has sued Durkee for fraud and breach of contract in a lawsuit that also accused First California Bank of aiding that fraud.

Durkee, the 58-year-old daughter of a Hollywood pastor, is accused of co-mingling money in the roughly 400 accounts she controlled at the bank, making it unclear to whom any recovered money actually belongs.

The bank reported $2.5 million in Durkee-controlled accounts, according to court documents, far less than the at least $9.8 million that her clients had raised, according to the Los Angeles County Democratic Party....

If a donor's campaign contributions were never received, Ravel said, there is a possibility that they could donate again. The commission hopes to decide if and how donors could contribute again by its next hearing on November 10.