DES MOINES, Iowa (CNN) - One day after a pro-Mike Huckabee group's 'push polling' efforts were brought to light here in Iowa, fellow Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney is calling for an investigation into their tactics.
In a statement Tuesday, Romney's campaign asked Iowa attorney general Tom Miller to open an investigation of the "allegedly illegal conduct" by Common Sense Issues, a group that launched a series of automated phone calls that target the former Arkansas governor's rivals but praise Huckabee himself.
Romney communications director Matt Rhoades wrote that "relying on the resources of an out-of-state soft money organization to run your ground game is awful politics and voters are right to be annoyed by this kind of conduct.”
Huckabee has denounced the tactics and urged the group to stop the calls.
He told CNN Tuesday that the efforts are hurting him, adding that the calls are "not in the spirit of the kind of campaign that I'm running or want to run."
"If people want to promote our campaign that’s certainly their business, but I hope they wouldn’t tear down other candidates because that’s not what we're about,” said Huckabee.
He urged the group to stop the calls, but added that he cannot legally contact them himself due to federal law, which prohibits contact between presidential candidates and independent groups advocating on their behalf.
Calls made to the office of the attorney general were not immediately returned.
– CNN's Chris Welch, Dana Bash, and Evan Glass contributed to this report