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New twist in Iowa eavesdropping case

Attorney: Client taped fund-raising meeting

Sen. Tom Harkin, D-Iowa
Sen. Tom Harkin, D-Iowa

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DES MOINES, Iowa (CNN) -- In the latest chapter of a bizarre eavesdropping saga between Sen. Tom Harkin, D-Iowa, and his GOP challenger, Rep. Greg Ganske, a lawyer said Thursday that his client tape-recorded a Ganske fund-raising meeting and then released it to Harkin's campaign because he was "incensed" by the Republican's stated willingness to wage a dirty campaign.

Lawyer Brent Rosenberg said in a statement that his client, who has asked to remain anonymous for personal and business reasons, was invited to the September 3 meeting because he contributed to Ganske's campaign earlier this year.

Ganske invited donors to the meeting to hear White House political director Ken Mehlman talk by speaker phone about the race.

During the meeting Ganske said, "You've never seen a campaign where anyone will attack him like we're going to attack him, with a smile on our face," according to Rosenberg. It was that comment, which Gankse aides have confirmed as "generally" accurate, that persuaded the man to offer the tape to Harkin, Rosenberg said.

The identity of the man, one of 24 donors at the Ganske event, has been given to local authorities investigating the incident.

Ganske campaign spokeswoman Ann Warren said in a statement Wednesday that she believes the man intended from the beginning to provide a tape of the meeting to Harkin's campaign.

"The surreptitious nature of the actions give lie to the attempted inference that his actions were honorable in attending the meeting," Warren said. "In fact, this whole episode suggests that Mr. Rosenberg's client was present for the sole purpose of making this recording and was attempting to cause injury to Congressman Ganske. We look forward to learning his identity," including whether he had a previous association with Harkin.

The imbroglio has given new life to Ganske, who until now was increasingly viewed as unlikely to oust Harkin this fall. The latest independent poll, conducted before reports of the eavesdropping episode surfaced this week, showed Harkin leading Ganske by 12 points.

--From CNN Political Editor John Mercurio

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