CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- A special state assistant attorney said Sunday an article in Morgantown's Dominion Post that linked Democratic Party Chairman Larry Puccio with federal subpoenas was "simply false."
The Dominion Post, owned by Republican U.S. Senate candidate John Raese, published a front-page article Saturday stating that Puccio "is apparently tied to federal subpoenas served to the state Division of Highways and Department of Administration."
Dwane Tinsley, a Charleston lawyer who represents the state in the ongoing federal investigation, issued a response to the article on Sunday.
"Unlike what was reported in the 'Dominion Post' newspaper on Saturday, the denial of a state records request relating to federal grand jury subpoenas is not 'confirmation' that the subject matter of the request is the focus of an investigation," Tinley said in the statement released Sunday afternoon.
"The state of West Virginia has not been told that any member of the current administration, past or present, is under investigation," Tinsley said. "To say otherwise is simply false."
Raese is running against Democratic Party nominee Gov. Joe Manchin in next month's special election to fill the seat made vacant by the death of Sen. Robert C. Byrd, D-W.Va.
Last month, the Dominion Post sent a Freedom of Information Act request to the West Virginia Department of Highways and Department of Administration, asking for "all contracts and documents associated with what is known as the Fairmont Gateway Connector, extending from Interstate 79 to downtown Fairmont."
The FOIA request asked for copies of all bids and contracts "awarded to the [appraisal] firm of Puccio and York from 2002 to the present," the newspaper reported.