The Department of Justice announced Wednesday that it has joined a whistle-blower lawsuit against The Gallup Organization, claiming the respected polling outfit violated the False Claims Act.
Filed by former Gallup employee Michael Lindley, the lawsuit alleges that the company made false claims, inflating the number of hours it billed federal agencies for polling services.
“Contractors must understand that it is unlawful to use inflated estimates to obtain higher contract prices,” Stuart F. Delery, acting assistant attorney general for the department’s civil division, said in a statement. “The decision to join this civil lawsuit underscores the commitment of the Department of Justice to recover federal funds that are unlawfully claimed.”
The Justice Department entered the suit with regard to Gallup’s contracts with the U.S. Mint and the State Department.
“Contractors who do business with the federal government must honor their obligations to provide honest services and products,” said U.S. Attorney Ronald C. Machen Jr. in a statement. “Working with relators and federal investigators, we will do all that we can to act against those who illegitimately bill the American taxpayers.”
Under the False Claims Act the government can receive payment of up to three times its losses and civil penalties. The private plaintiff can receive a portion of those claims.