An aide to Republican presidential candidate Herman Cain told the Washington Post on Thursday that the campaign is considering taking legal action against Politico, which ran the first report on sexual harassment allegations made against Cain during his tenure as head of the National Restaurant Association in the 1990s.
"This is likely not over with Politico from a legal perspective," the aide, who was not identified by name, told the Post without elaborating on the campaign's intentions.
However, according to Business Insider, Politico Executive Editor Jim VandeHei said in a statement, "We have heard nothing from the Cain campaign." He added, "We stand confidently behind every story Politico reporters have written on the topic."
Politico reported that two women received financial payouts from the National Restaurant Association over allegations of sexual harassment more than a decade ago. A third woman told the AP this week that she considered filing a workplace complaint over what she believed was inappropriate behavior exhibited by Cain around the same time the other women settled harassment claims.
According to Politico, one of the women received $45,000 in her settlement, while the New York Times reported that the other was paid $35,000.
Cain, meanwhile, has made inconsistent remarks in addressing the controversy. The former Godfather's Pizza CEO has maintained that he has never sexually harassed anyone and his campaign hasn't held back in engaging in the blame game.
HuffPost's Jon Ward reports:
Cain's chief of staff said on Thursday that he accepted the explanation of a Rick Perry adviser who denied charges from the Cain camp that he leaked allegations of sexual harassment by Cain to the media.
"Until we get all the facts, I'm just gonna say that we accept what Mr. Anderson has said and we want to move on with the campaign," top Cain campaign adviser Mark Block said in a Fox News interview.
Block did not, however, fully withdraw his accusation against Perry adviser Curt Anderson.
"I'm going to do the same thing Anderson has done: move on, talk about issues and get off of this 'silliness,' as he called it, and let's get on with the campaign," Block said.
But Block immediately added, "I will stand behind what we said yesterday," referring to accusations against Anderson first made by Cain himself and then by Block himself. Block added that he was "thrilled that Mr. Anderson said that it didn't come from him."
Anderson, who worked on Herman Cain's unsuccessful 2004 Senate run, said on Thursday morning that he could not have been the source of the leak because he did not know about the allegations against the candidate.
Cain signaled on Thursday that the controversy "will not deter" him in his pursuit of the Republican presidential nomination. The AP reports that a spokesman for the GOP hopeful indicated that Cain's campaign has taken in more than $1 million since the sexual harassment allegations came to light.