Documents obtained by The Daily Caller show that several government agencies praised The Gallup Organization for the contract work it did for the federal government — including praise for their cost, effectiveness and service — running counter to charges by Attorney General Eric Holder’s Department of Justice’s that the polling firm defrauded the federal government.
In August, the DOJ signed on to a lawsuit based on 2009 allegations by former Gallup staffer Michael Lindley — who is also a 2008 Obama campaign organizer – after senior Gallup officials didn’t comply with a stern invitation from Obama re-election campaign senior adviser David Axelrod to a White House meeting.
Some perceived Axelrod’s invitation as an attempt to intimidate the firm following its polls showing Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney leading Obama.
The publicly available lawsuit shows that the DOJ is currently basing its allegations entirely on Lindley’s claims. It has also not yet been served on Gallup, preventing the pollster from being able to officially respond to the allegations.
A contract Gallup worked on with the U.S. Mint is one on which the DOJ is backing Lindley’s allegation. In the lawsuit, Lindley — and now the DOJ — allege that Gallup was overcharging the government on a $2 million annual contract “to conduct market research to identify likely purchasers of newly issued coins and how best to reach them.”
“After the government awarded the contract to Gallup, whenever the U.S. Mint needed market research it would forward to Gallup a task order request,” Lindley alleges. “Gallup would then write an abbreviated technical proposal and submit a detailed budget to the U.S. Mint. … The government would rely on this budget detail in order to justify Gallup’s price and assess its cost-reasonableness. Because the contract was a sole source contract, the government had no competing bids against which it could evaluate the reasonableness of Gallup’s pricing or costs, and relied instead on the accuracy of Gallup’s cost and pricing data.”
Lindley charges that Gallup Senior Research Director Sameer Abraham “would submit a proposed budget to the Mint” for each task, and then would “inflate the number of hours required to complete the work, usually by a multiple of two or three times.”
“Meanwhile, Gallup would create an internal budget for the contract in Gallup’s project management system,” Lindley continues. “In this internal budget, Abraham would include a realistic number of hours required to complete the work in the contract, based on historical data. This realistic number would be used by Gallup for purposes of tracking the progress of the contract, and ultimately, determining the gross margin on the contract the number that would be justified by historical experience.”
But the U.S. Mint saw in a different light the contract work Gallup was performing. According to comments in an internal “Contractor Performance Assessment Report” (CPAR), the Mint said Gallup “earned an outstanding rating for the services they provided or the duration of this contract. The contractor went above and beyond expectations in all areas.”
The CPAR report also praises Gallup for cost control with regard to the contract.
“There were no cost management issues associated with the contract,” the Mint said of Gallup’s work. “The contractor did their best to achieve cost savings — especially given the levels of demand and complexity of many research projects.”
The Mint also said Gallup “exceeded expectations in timeliness of performance.”