Mitt Romney on Tuesday mentioned an example in which he, as Massachusetts governor, provided assistance to a campaign donor, but argued it was not the same act of "favoritism" he now accuses President Barack Obama of committing in the Oval Office.
Asked in an interview with CNN Pittsburgh affiliate KDKA if he had ever aided a political donor, Romney said his administration had "one circumstance" where a campaign contributor "was looking for help."
"We set up a very elaborate process to make sure that neither I nor other members of my staff were involved in the decision making," Romney added. "We wanted to make sure that by appearance and reality that this was done without bias, without favoritism."
His comments come the same week his campaign launched a new line of attack, blasting the president for funneling federal funds to companies whose owners had contributed to his campaign coffers.
In their "cronyism" approach, Romney's team points to reports that high-level contributors to Obama's 2008 presidential campaign won spots on advisory boards that distributed government loans to energy companies, as well as a report that a high-level donor was put in charge of hiring in the Obama White House.
Pressed Tuesday on whether Romney thinks Obama broke any laws, the presumptive GOP nominee said: "I don't know about any specific law which prevents a president from carrying out a conflict of interest of some kind or providing money to businesses owned by campaign contributors, but it certainly stinks."
Romney's campaign did not immediately respond to a request for further explanation about the incident Romney cited.
Obama's re-election team has forcefully denied Romney's claims, saying the Republican candidate was simply trying to distract voters from increased attention over his business record and financial portfolio.
"Launching a warmed over and false line of attack that has already been debunked by independent news organizations and fact-checkers won't help him," said Obama campaign spokeswoman Lis Smith.