Southern California breaking news and trends

Kinde Durkee pleads guilty to looting $7M from CA political accounts

kinde durkee

California Democratic Council, Henry Vandermeir/AP

Former California campaign treasurer Kinde Durkee has pleaded guilty to looting $7 million from Democratic candidates and political committee accounts.

Her plea, entered Friday in U.S. District Court in Sacramento, includes five counts of mail fraud and carries a maximum sentence of 14 years in federal prison. 

This signals an end to the criminal case that began with her arrest last September, however she now faces civil lawsuits by U.S. Sen. Dianne Feinstein and other victims.

Federal prosecutors say Durkee defrauded at least 50 candidates.

U.S. Rep. Susan Davis told her contributors in a letter released last September that her campaign was looted of over $250,000 at the hands of Durkee.

"My sense is that it was a pyramid type of endeavor here," Democratic strategist Chris Lehane said on the Madeleine Brand Show last fall.


Political operative Durkee, who allegedly embezzled $8 million from California politicians, likely to plead guilty

Kinde Durkee

California Democratic Council, Henry Vandermeir/AP

Kinde Durkee is being charged with costing Southern California Democrats hundreds of thousands of dollars, siphoned from their campaigns.

Political operative Kinde Durkee is expected to plead guilty to embezzlement later this week in a plea deal, Politico reports. Durkee was the treasurer for numerous California Democrats; she allegedly stole more than $8 million from her clients. None of the money has been recovered to date.

Those clients included California's senior senator, Dianne Feinstein. Durkee had ties to hundreds of state, local and federal campaigns.

Among the money she allegedly embezzled is $4.5 million from Feinstein's Senate committee, $660,000 from a California state lawmaker's campaign account and more. Several of the affected politicians have filed suit against Burkee and the bank where their reelection money was being kept, First California Bank. Feinstein replaced the money for her campaign from her own pocket by cutting a $5 million check.


Chuck Norris endorses Newt Gingrich for President

Chuck Norris endorses Newt Gingrich for President

Matthew Cavanaugh/Getty Images

Chuck Norris endorsed Republican presidential candidate, former Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich seen here speaking during a campaign stop at Salem High School on January 06, 2012.

Chuck Norris can cut a hot knife with butter; he can do a wheelie on a unicycle; and when he plays Pac Man the ghosts stay in the box, the web memes say.

But can the action star's endorsement make Newt Gingrich the next President of the United States? 

Friday, on the conservative website World Net Daily, Norris wrote that he and his wife "believe Newt’s experience, leadership, knowledge, wisdom, faith and even humility to learn from his failures (personal and public) can return America to her glory days."

The CBS television star even used a phrase from fellow CBS heavyweight "Survivor" to back the former Speaker of the House. "[Gingrich] is the best man left on the battlefield who is able to outwit, outplay and outlast [President Barack] Obama and his campaign machine," Norris wrote.

Before Gingrich and wife Callista start measuring the curtains they should take pause because even though Internet mythology has it that Chuck Norris once killed 37 terrorists with 2 bullets (and one was just a warning shot), he doesn't have the best accuracy in identifying GOP nominees.