CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- A Mingo County political action committee's acceptance of improper contributions didn't violate any state law, an attorney with the West Virginia Secretary of State's Office said.
Attorney Tim Leach said in a letter to Team Mingo 2012 that state law doesn't prohibit PACs from receiving money that might have been improperly donated. There are exceptions, but none apply to Team Mingo 2012.
The Charleston Daily Mail reported the findings Monday. The newspaper said Mingo County Commissioner Greg "Hootie" Smith, the PAC's treasurer, provided it with a copy of Leach's letter but declined comment.
Secretary of state spokesman Jake Glance told the newspaper earlier this year that campaigns of active candidates can't make donations to unaffiliated PACs such as Team Mingo 2012.
Team Mingo 2012 received $3,700 in contributions from the campaigns of Agriculture Commissioner Walt Helmick, state Sen. Art Kirkendoll, state Treasurer John Perdue and former Sen. Mark Wills. The PAC returned the money to the Democrats' campaigns in August after learning that they were improper.
The Secretary of State's Office investigated the contributions after receiving a complaint from Republican activist and Ohio University sports broadcaster Rob Cornelius. Leach said in his letter that the complaint has been dismissed.
Cornelius said he is disappointed that there is no recourse under state law concerning the PAC's actions.
"The good news is that the folks at the Federal Election Commission haven't looked at [this] yet, and have a little better idea of what happens when people at a state PAC spend unreported funds on a federal election," Cornelius told the newspaper.