Attorneys for California's senior United States senator want detailed information from the files of convicted campaign treasurer Kinde Durkee, in an effort to help explain how millions of political dollars disappeared over the course of several years.
A court filing on Tuesday by representatives of Sen. Dianne Feinstein, D-San Francisco, seeks computer files that they believe contain "evidence of Durkee's pattern of conduct" in using campaign cash to cover business and personal expenses.
(Read the filing here)
Durkee was sentenced in November to 97 months in a federal prison on mail fraud, as part of what investigators have called the biggest political embezzlement case in U.S. history. In all, some $10.5 million in cash from scores of political and non-profit organizations disappeared.
The new court filing says that federal prosecutors are refusing to hand over computer files from the now defunct Durkee company, citing federal privacy laws.
"The information contained on the Durkee hard drives cannot be obtained from any other source," says the court document, filed in federal court in Sacramento.
Feinstein's attorney says the files, if they have any private information on them, would be kept confidential as part of the case over recouping cash.
And that's the only real remaining question -- other than the probably never fully answered question of how the Democratic political operative got so deep into trouble: what becomes of the remaining money.
In other words, which groups get some of their money back... and which don't?
Feinstein launched an aggressive campaign fundraising effort in 2012, even though she handily cruised to reelection in November, to replace the missing funds; most of the money was covered in the short term by her own personal funds.
The new court filing was made on behalf of Feinstein's Senate committee, her national political action committee Fund for the Majority, and committees representing several legislative and regional political campaigns.