CHICAGO (CBS) — Mayor Rahm Emanuel is denying any involvement in the sexual harassment controversy swirling around Republican presidential hopeful Herman Cain.

WBBM Newsradio Political Editor Craig Dellimore reports the suggestion surfaced in the Washington Times, a conservative Washington newspaper.

A source close to the Cain campaign told Washington Times columnist Kerry Pickett that they believe a possible source for the reports of sexual harassment complaints against Cain was someone at the National Restaurant Association’s Chicago office.

According to the report, the information and influence was supplied through Emanuel’s office.

LISTEN: WBBM Newsradio Political Editor Craig Dellimore reports

Emanuel, former chief of staff for President Barack Obama, said the report is “baseless.”

Emanuel spokeswoman Chris Mather went further, saying the suggestion is baseless, completely false and totally absurd.

Cain has been under fire in recent weeks from sexual harassment allegations from at least three women.

The Politico website has reported that the National Restaurant Association had reached financial settlements with two former employees who filed complaints against Cain when he was with the group. A third woman has also said she considered filing a complaint against Cain.

Cain has repeatedly denied that he sexually harassed anyone, offering a number of conflicting explanations. He’s blamed rival Rick Perry’s campaign of leaking the disclosure of years-old sexual harassment complaints against him.

Perry also has denied any involvement in the stories.

(TM and © Copyright 2011 CBS Radio Inc. and its relevant subsidiaries. CBS Radio and EYE Logo TM and Copyright 2011 CBS Broadcasting Inc. Used under license. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)

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