The campaign of Republican presidential candidate Herman Cain is accusing Gov. Rick Perry's operation of being behind recent news reports about sexual harassment allegations against Cain in the 1990s.
Cain's campaign manager said Perry should apologize to Cain for providing information about the allegations to the news media.
On Sunday, Politico reported that the National Restaurant Association had given settlements to at least two female employees who accused Cain of inappropriate sexual behavior while he was head of the trade group.
Perry spokesman Ray Sullivan said Perry's campaign learned of the allegations from Politico's story, which was published late Sunday evening.
"No one at our campaign was involved in this story in any way," he said. "Any claim to the contrary is patently false. The first we learned of it was when we read the story in Politico."
Cain himself, in an interview with Forbes, said he believed a Perry consultant gave information about the allegations to Politico.
Cain said he outlined the allegations of a woman to the consultant, Curt Anderson, when Anderson was helping him on an earlier campaign.
But Anderson, a senior adviser to Perry's campaign, denied knowing about the allegations in a statement to the AP.
"I was one of several consultants on his Senate race in 2004 and was proud to help him," he said. "I never heard any of these allegations until I read about them in Politico, nor does anything I read in the press change my opinion that Herman is an upstanding man and a gentleman."
Perry's campaign pointed to former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney's operation as a possible source of the Politico story.
"There are real ties between Romney campaign backers and Mr. Cain and the National Restaurant Association," Sullivan said.
Cain has denied that he did anything wrong while head of the National Restaurant Association. The Associated Press reported on Wednesday that a third woman said Cain harassed her when they worked together at the trade group in the 1990s.
"Mr. Cain has said over the past two days at public events that we could see other baseless allegations made against him as this appalling smear campaign continues," said Cain spokesman J.D. Gordon when asked for comment about the accusations, including the most recent.
"He has never acted in the way alleged by inside-the-Beltway media, and his distinguished record over 40 years spent climbing the corporate ladder speaks for itself," he said.
NBC 5's Omar Villafranca contributed to this report.
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