Team Mingo 2012 is not officially affiliated with any local political party. This spring, Secretary of State spokesman Jake Glance told the Daily Mail it's not legal for an active campaign committee to donate money to an unaffiliated PAC.
Less than two weeks after the Daily Mail originally reported the contributions, the PAC returned all of the money to the respective campaigns, according to election filings. Helmick, Perdue and Kirkendoll's campaigns each received $1,000, and the Wills campaign received $700, according to campaign filings.
Mingo County Commissioner Greg "Hootie" Smith is treasurer for the Team Mingo 2012 PAC, and Mingo County Commission President John Mark Hubbard is a part of the same political faction. Both contributed a combined $1,800 to the PAC the day before it returned the money to the four campaigns, according to election filings.
Republican operative Rob Cornelius filed the complaints with the Secretary of State's Office. He alleges Hubbard's campaign in 2010 made an illegal donation in the same vein as the Helmick, Kirkendoll, Perdue and Wills campaigns.
Cornelius has also filed complaints about different alleged violations against House of Delegates Majority Leader Harry Keith White and Delegate Justin Marcum, both Mingo County Democrats. Marcum works as an assistant prosecuting attorney under Sparks.
White and Marcum both recently told the Daily Mail they were cleared by the Secretary of State's Office of any wrong doing.
By law, the Secretary of State's Office cannot comment on any current investigations. The office cannot prosecute anyone: Glance recently told the Daily Mail that the office refers a case to the appropriate prosecuting attorney if it believes there was a criminal act committed.
Leach and Glance qualified that statement Wednesday.
Generally the office works with a prosecuting attorney if it's going to refer a case for prosecuting, but it can also work with the person to ask questions about case particulars. Gauging the prosecutor's temperature on a case can help the Secretary of State's Office determine if they will refer for prosecution or not, Leach and Glance said.
"Sometimes you have to work with the prosecuting attorney to figure out if there has been a violation of election law," Glance said.
"It never hurts to have a second opinion when you're doing an investigation," he said later in the interview.
The details of a Secretary of State's investigation only become public information if there is an indictment connected to the investigation, Leach said.