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California Still Failing

Scandal is sweeping the California Democratic Party as it turns out that campaign coffers for national and state elections have been looted by a prominent Party operative. The WSJ has the story:

Accusations that a campaign treasurer stole more than $1 million from Democratic candidates across California have jolted the party on the eve of the 2012 campaign season.

According to the federal criminal complaint, Ms. [Kinde] Durkee “misappropriated money from her clients’ bank accounts and filed false disclosure reports to hide the misappropriations.” Ms. Durkee “admitted that she had been misappropriating her clients’ money for years,” according to court documents.

Via Meadia has previously noted the deterioration of Golden California into a failed state. Democratic politicians and the credulous voters who keep voting thieves into office year after year are much to blame; Dems have controlled both houses of the State Legislature since 1970 (minus a GOP takeover of the lower house in 1995-96). In that time spending has vastly exceeded revenues, miring the state in debt and unfunded pension liabilities. This year, under pressure from massively unfunded pension liabilities to unionized state employees, California has had to take the axe to schools, courts, and prisons. The failure to manage budgets in a responsible way led to irresponsible and poorly implemented cuts.

But it turns out California Dems aren’t just bad with other people’s money; they can’t even manage their own.  For years, law enforcement officials now say, a trusted apparatchik has been quietly stealing money from the campaign funds of many of the party’s officeholders. Apparently the California party as a whole lacked any sense of appropriate fiscal management or controls.

It cannot be fun to call a donor to ask for more money because your carelessness allowed the last gift to be stolen, but many California Democrats are going to get a lot of practice making those calls in coming weeks.  Not to sound like a cynic, but one has to wonder whether politicians who don’t know how to manage their own campaign funds have any idea how to manage the business of a state like California.  Is the state government as poorly overseen — and perhaps as vulnerable to fraud — as the party that controls it?

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  • Toni

    I think it depends on what you call fraud. The Democrat-union circle of payoffs — campaign donations traded for rich union wages and benefits — is legalized graft.

    It’s no stretch to imagine bidding specifications and rules for government contracts similarly designed to suit other donors. But then I can only speculate. Donors and contractors would dot every i and cross every t to ensure that this graft is legal too.

    Then there’s legalized graft writ large. Obama intends to shunt roughly $200 billion of Stimulus II funds to government and construction unions. As the WSJ terms it, a Blue State Bailout in Disguise. The biggest Blue State will surely get a hefty chunk.

    In this milieu, how hard is it for a California Democratic campaign apparatchik to justify diverting a bit of the circular money flow for herself? The wonder is that the fraud is only now coming to light.

  • dearieme

    Aw, poor dears, just think of it as a tax.

    Taxes are good, aren’t they?

  • Anthony

    “Democratic politicians (can we say PUBPOLS generally) and the credulous voters who keep voting thieves into office year after year are to blame.” WRM, is it plausible to infer from your meme that the multitudes (California’s citizens – must we limit in to California) are thoroughly confused people who are readily victimized in politics and economics by nimbler wits (trusting to their feelings and drifting with the tide)?

  • Corlyss

    So someone has done to the Ca. Dems what their party has been doing to us for almost a century. BFD, and it’s about time!

  • West

    Anthony says:

    “WRM, is it plausible to infer from your meme that the multitudes (California’s citizens – must we limit in to California) are thoroughly confused people who are readily victimized in politics and economics by nimbler wits (trusting to their feelings and drifting with the tide)?”

    Well, no, it’s not. As WRM points out the ‘nimbler wits’ got fleeced, too. Not to mention the electorate is just as smart as it wants to be – the situation it finds itself in now was not a result of mass stupidity, but of mass culpability, happily trading future prosperity and fiscal probity for current gains, mostly by interest groups that gained more than most in the short term at the expense of the greater community.

    But if it pleases you to call everyone stupid, or to attempt to suck WRM into some rhetorical trap based upon that premise, go for it, I’d wager he’s too smart for that.

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