Iowa AG Asked to Investigate Calls
Republican Mitt Romney's campaign asked Iowa Attorney General Tom Miller today to open an investigation into whether a tax-exempt advocacy group supporting one of his GOP rivals, Mike Huckabee, broke any laws by making recent computerized calls to residents in Iowa in advance of the nation's first presidential contest.
The Washington Post reported yesterday that the group called Common Sense Issues Inc., a nonprofit created under section 501(c)(4) of the IRS code, flooded Iowa and other primary states with the calls, which spread negative information about some of Huckabee's rivals while encouraging Iowans to sign on to become "precinct captains" to help Huckabee win the Jan. 3 Iowa caucuses.
Romney's general counsel, Benjamin L. Ginsberg, wrote to Miller that some recipients of the calls claimed not to have been given proper notification or a call-back number for the group as required by law. He asked the attorney general to investigate and to possibly bring a civil enforcement against the group in federal court if the allegations are substantiated.
"Should a violation indeed be found, we trust that you will vigorously protect Iowa consumers by pursuing Common Sense Issues in federal district court," Ginsberg wrote.
Huckabee himself has called on the group to stop its phone calls, saying he believes its effort "violates the spirit" of his campaign. The group has said it is conducting the activities entirely independent of Huckabee and is is compliance with all laws.
Huckabee's effort to distance himself from the group, however, has been complicated by the fact that some of Common Sense's organizers are also fund-raisers for his presidential campaign, including Ohio businessman Harold "Zeke" Swift, who helped host a fund-raiser for the former Arkasnas governor late last month in Ohio.
Washington Post editors
December 4, 2007; 6:49 PM ET
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