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Calif. Democratic operative arrested for fraud

LOS ANGELES - A longtime Democratic campaign treasurer who has worked for dozens of state, federal and local politicians in California has been arrested on suspicion of mail fraud, officials said Saturday.

Kinde Durkee, who heads Durkee & Associates in Burbank, was arrested Friday afternoon by the FBI on a criminal complaint filed by the U.S. Attorney's Office in Sacramento, said U.S. Attorney's Office spokesman Thom Mrozek. No further details were available.

The arrest was first reported by the Orange County Register.

A phone message left at Durkee's office by The Associated Press was not immediately returned. She is expected to appear in a Southern California court Tuesday.

State Sen. Lou Correa of Santa Ana told the Register the FBI notified him late Friday that he was one of many victims. Correa said he believes he has lost hundreds of thousands of dollars in campaign funds. Durkee had been his campaign treasurer since 1995.

Federal Election Commission records show Durkee is treasurer for U.S. Sen. Dianne Feinstein and U.S. Rep. Loretta Sanchez of Orange County, a host of state assemblymen and senators, city councilmen and political action committees.

The California Fair Political Practices Commission has taken action against her four times, mainly for failing to report transactions or information, and sent her a dozen warning letters. She also stipulated to a violation from San Diego's Ethics Commission.

Durkee's website said the business specializes in political accounting and has been operating since 1972.