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David Axelrod, a strategist for President Obama, addresses a crowd in front of the Statehouse in Boston Thursday, May 31, 2012. (AP Photo/Steven Senne) David Axelrod, a strategist for President Obama, addresses a crowd in front of the Statehouse in Boston Thursday, May 31, 2012. (AP Photo/Steven Senne)  

Justice Dept. Gallup lawsuit came after Axelrod criticized pollsters

Photo of Matthew Boyle
Matthew Boyle
Investigative Reporter

Since Gallup first roused Axelrod’s ire, Obama’s Justice Department revived old allegations against the firm that, according to now former Gallup employee Michael Lindley, the polling company violated the False Claims Act by over-charging the federal government for its services.

In August, Justice signed on to a suit Lindley filed in 2009. Lindley alleged, according to The Associated Press, that Gallup filed false claims with the federal government on contracts it had with the State Department, the U.S. Mint and other federal agencies.

A senior Gallup official told TheDC Lindley left Gallup on July 24, 2009, after working there since Feb. 25, 2008.

Lindley made his allegations under seal after leaving his Gallup job. A senior Gallup official told TheDC that the Justice Department began investigating the allegations in October 2009 and served the company with subpoenas in February or March 2010. Gallup, the source said, provided the government with about three terabytes of data responsive to those subpoenas.

Gallup, the source continued, did not hear from the Justice Department again for approximately one-and-a-half years.

“We did not have a substantive discussion about what they had subpoenaed until Fall of 2011,” the Gallup official told TheDC. “And the meeting came at our request, a request that had been outstanding from the time we were served [with the subpoenas].”

Lindley was a field organizer in Council Bluffs, Iowa, for then-Sen. Obama’s 2008 run for president before joining Gallup, a fact omitted from the DOJ’s legal filings and from most press accounts.

Gallup has been a thorn in Obama’s re-election efforts since it began to publish polling numbers showing Romney leading the incumbent Democrat. The polling organization has also, according to the American Thinker blog, published employment data which, unlike numbers from Obama’s Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), does not set aside statistics which are not politically helpful to the president.

“Gallup publishes its research without seasonal adjustments,” William Tate wrote for the American Thinker. ”The BLS’s version applies adjustments in an alchemic formula that’s more mysterious than the Shroud of Turin.”

Right before Obama’s Justice Department joined Lindley’s lawsuit against Gallup in August, the polling firm published numbers showing Romney with a slight lead over Obama — at 47 percent to 45 percent — in its daily presidential tracking poll.

Lindley’s attorneys, along with spokespersons from the Obama campaign and the Justice Department, have not responded to requests for comment.

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