Politics

DOJ’s lawsuit against Gallup polling org based on whistle-blower who worked for Obama 2008

Photo of Matthew Boyle
Matthew Boyle
Investigative Reporter

A whistle-blower whose allegations have caused Attorney General Eric Holder’s Department of Justice to sue polling company The Gallup Organization was an Iowa field organizer in Council Bluffs for President Barack Obama during his 2008 run for president.

The DOJ is alleging — based on allegations by now former Gallup employee Michael Lindley — that the polling company violated the False Claims Act by boosting the number of hours it charges the federal government for its services.

Based on Lindley’s accusation, one of Holder’s top deputies, Acting Assistant Attorney General for the DOJ’s Civil Division Stuart Delery, said, “Contractors must understand that it is unlawful to use inflated estimates to obtain higher contract prices. The decision to join this civil lawsuit underscores the commitment of the Department of Justice to recover federal funds that are unlawfully claimed.”

It’s unclear at this point how solid the evidence against Gallup is that Lindley is alleging he has – the DOJ is characterizing him as a “whistleblower” and the DOJ doesn’t say it has any evidence other than Lindley’s allegations — but the timing of this lawsuit may prompt more accusations of political activity from Holder’s DOJ. Gallup currently has Obama’s GOP challenger Mitt Romney with a slight edge in its daily tracking figures at, leading the incumbent president 47-45.

The case was filed in Washington, D.C. Ron Machen, the U.S. Attorney for the District, praised the DOJ’s decision to sue Gallup based on Lindley’s allegations.

“Contractors who do business with the federal government must honor their obligations to provide honest services and products,” Machen said. “Working with relators and federal investigators, we will do all that we can to act against those who illegitimately bill the American taxpayers.” Machen is the same U.S. Attorney who was ordered by Holder’s DOJ not to enforce the bipartisan House resolution finding the attorney general in criminal contempt of Congress for his failure to comply with an Operation Fast and Furious subpoena.

DOJ spokeswoman Tracy Schmaler has not responded to requests for comment on Lindley’s work on the Obama campaign.

Follow Matthew on Twitter