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Campaign watchdog posts violations by treasurers

SACRAMENTO, Calif. (AP) -- California's campaign-finance watchdog agency on Friday began posting online the names of political campaign treasurers who have been sanctioned or warned more than twice for violating reporting rules.

Making the names more accessible to members of the public and candidates was among the recommendations the Fair Political Practices Commission received after a treasurer to many high-profile California Democrats was revealed to have stolen as much as $10 million from her clients.

Kinde Durkee was sentenced to more than eight years in federal prison last year after pleading guilty to defrauding clients of $7 million. She admitted stealing money from clients to pay her own expenses. It was revealed that she regularly shifted money between their bank accounts.

Durkee is among the treasurers listed on the commission's website Friday.

The others are Gary Crummitt of Long Beach, Jane Leiderman of Los Angeles and Lysa Ray of Santa Ana, who have all worked for legislative or congressional candidates.

Ray noted that four of her seven notices, which date to 2008, were warning letters, not violations of the law.

“We're human. We make mistakes,” she said.

Ray said she did not think it was fair for the commission to single out specific treasurers. But “in the world after Kinde Durkee, that's the way it goes,” Ray said.

Leiderman, who has represented several members of the state Assembly, also noted that five of her eight notices were warning letters.

“We do make mistakes occasionally. But in most of those cases where the warning letters are listed there it was not my fault, but my name was listed because I was the treasurer,” she said.

Crummitt did not immediately return telephone messages left Friday afternoon.

Attorneys for the lawmakers reached a settlement this week that calls for the bank that Durkee used to pay $4 million to replace some of the lost campaign money.

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