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Posted at 03:45 PM ET, 11/03/2011

Report: Cain accuser got $45,000

This just in from POLITICO:

“POLITICO has learned that one of the women who accused Herman Cain of sexual harassment at the National Restaurant Association in the 1990s received a payout of about $45,000 as part of her settlement — significantly more than the two or three months’ salary Cain initially recalled the woman obtained.

The woman who received the approximately $45,000 is the staffer who Cain has acknowledged formally lodged a complaint about his behavior.

The compensation the woman received as part of her departure package was far more than that what a mid-level trade association employee in the late 1990s would have made over a two-to-three month period.”

Cain spokesman J.D. Gordon said that the Republican presidential candidate has no knowledge of a $45,000 settlement.

Cain’s campaign has been reeling since Sunday, after it was revealed that he had been accused off sexual harassment while he ran the National Restaurant Association and that the trade group settled claims against Cain brought by two female employees. The New York Times reported Tuesday that the other accuser was paid $35,000 as part of a settlement agreement with the trade association. And on Wednesday, the Associated Press reported that a third unidentified woman said she had considered filing a workplace complaint against Cain for what the news service described as “sexually suggestive remarks or gestures” when she was working at the trade association.

Attorney Joel P. Bennett, who represents one of the woman who made claims against Cain, said : “I cannot comment in any way, shape or form.”

Bennett said he has asked the trade association to permit his client to release a statement about the episode, and that he faxed a proposed statement from the woman to the National Restaurant Association’s outside counsel at Hogan Lovells in the District. Bennett would not say what was in the statement but said that it is one page and offers a different version of events than Cain has described.

Bennett said he and the woman drafted the statement to make details about the allegation public without breaching the woman’s privacy. The woman, a federal civil service employee,does not to be identified for fear that it would damage her reputation and career, Bennett said.

Hogan Lovells attorney Paul C. Skelly, an employment specialist who has represented the restaurant association since 2008, confirmed that he received the proposed statement. Skelly also said that Bennett requested that the association respond to Bennett and his client by Friday afternoon, “and we plan to do that.”

“We are currently reviewing the document,” association spokeswoman Sue Hensley said.

In Iowa, some influential conservatives have started to speak out more negatively about Cain since the revelations this week, even as others are withholding judgment.

Steve Robinson, a longtime Republican operative who now runs a conservative blog called the Iowa Republican, called Cain a “liar.”

A conservative talk show named Steve Deace has suggested that Cain said “inappropriate things” to women who work on Deace’s program. He attacked as Cain “uninformed and morally inconsistent.”

But Bob Vanderplats, a social conservative and longtime GOP figure here, said most Iowa Republicans are still trying to figure out exactly what happened.

“Iowans are fair-minded, and they will do their best to sort out the charges,” he said.

Republicans in Iowa are following the story closely. In interviews at the campaign events of other candidates, nearly everyone was familiar with the controversy, if not sure exactly whether to believe Cain.

Cain’s Iowa operatives have played down the accusations, even as they defend a candidate who has rarely appeared in the state over the last two months. On Wednesday, Cain’s campaign announced a plan to raise more than $900,000 to fund television and radio ads and help turn out voters for the caucuses on Jan. 3. It was the first formal sign that Cain is organizing to win the caucuses.

“He’s done a better job than just rebutting them (the charges) in Iowa, he’s rebutted them nationally, said Larry Tuel, Cain’s state director in Iowa. “We are seeing an influx of donations, volunteers and positive comments.”

Staff writers Karen Tumulty, Krissah Thompson and Perry Bacon Jr., who reported from Iowa, also contributed to this story.

By and James V. Grimaldi  |  03:45 PM ET, 11/03/2011

 
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