The Democratic National Committee requested public records from state agencies on their dealings with Gov. Mitt Romney, who may run for president in 2008. His spokesman called it the work of a "dirty tricks attack squad."
The DNC is seeking similar records on at least 10 other potential candidates for the Republican presidential nomination in 2008, spokesman Luis Miranda said.
The letters dated Dec. 7 ask for "any and all records of communication" and are signed by Shauna Daly, who provided a post office box in Washington as her address.
Miranda confirmed to The Boston Globe that Daly is employed by the Democrats as deputy research director. She had previously worked for the presidential campaign of John Edwards, the former senator from North Carolina, and in other races.
The party is asking for records as far back as 1947, the year Romney was born.
Romney is "a Republican with well-known presidential ambitions, and these days, that's not that special," Miranda said. "This is just real standard operating procedure." Campaigns use research in hopes of finding controversial, embarrassing or previously undisclosed information about a politician's past.
Daly's letters request that any fees be waived, but Romney spokesman Eric Fehrnstrom said fulfilling the requests wills cost tens of thousands of dollars.
"Taxpayers shouldn't have to pay for the Democratic National Committee to put its dirty tricks attack squad to work against Mitt Romney, so we'll bill them for it," Fehrnstrom said.
Romney announced Dec. 14 that he would not seek a second term as governor, and although he has yet to say whether he will run for the GOP nomination, it is widely speculated that he will.
Gubernatorial records became an issue in presidential politics in 2004. Democrat Howard Dean, who ran for president, came under criticism because he had some records in Vermont sealed when he left office as that state's governor in 2003. In November, the state Supreme Court ruled that Dean had acted legally.