Attorneys for DOJ’s anti-Gallup whistle-blower all Obama, Democratic Party donors

Matthew Boyle Investigative Reporter
Font Size:

The two law firms representing whistle-blower Michael Lindley in a case against The Gallup Organization supported by the Department of Justice are stacked with donors to President Barack Obama’s political campaigns, according to political donation records published by the Center for Responsive Politics.

The legal complaint against Gallup indicates that the DOJ is relying solely on Lindley’s allegations to back its claim that Gallup defrauded the federal government by allegedly overcharging for polling services it provided various federal agencies. Since Lindley left Gallup, two whistle-blower law firms have picked up his complaint. Each is filled with major Obama and Democratic Party donors.

Debra Katz of the law firm Katz, Marshall & Banks LLP has donated thousands to Obama’s campaign efforts, records show. In 2008, she made three donations to then-Sen. Obama’s run for president, totaling $4,300. She also donated $1,000 to the Democratic firm DNC Services Corp. in 2008.

Records show also that over the course of the 2012 election cycle Katz has donated $1,250 to Obama’s presidential campaign, $250 to the Democratic Party of Wisconsin and $2,000 to Wisconsin Democratic Rep. Tammy Baldwin’s U.S. Senate campaign.

Lisa Banks of the same firm originally supported now-Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s 2008 presidential bid, donating $2,500 to her campaign before Clinton dropped out of the race in recognition of Obama’s likely insurmountable delegate lead. In October 2008, she then donated $1,500 to Obama. Banks has donated $1,000 to Baldwin’s 2012 campaign.

Katz, Marshall & Banks partner Avi Kumin donated $200 to Obama in 2008 and $1,100 to Obama during the current election cycle.

Daniel B. Edelman, a non-partner attorney with the same firm, is also a consistent Obama donor. He gave $1,500 to Obama in 2008, and has contributed $400 during the 2012 cycle. Edelman also gave $250 to Baldwin’s 2012 U.S. Senate campaign.

Robert Vogel of the law firm Vogel, Slade & Goldstein LLP donated $1,000 to Clinton’s 2008 Democratic primary against Obama and has made several other Democratic Party donations as well. In 2008, he gave the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee and the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee a combined total of $750.

In 2010 Vogel donated $500 to Wisconsin Democratic Sen. Russ Feingold’s ultimately unsuccessful campaign for re-election. He has donated $1,000 to California Democratic Rep. Howard Berman’s 2012 campaign.

Vogel’s partner Janet Goldstein donated $500 to Obama and $250 to Baldwin in the current cycle.

Their partner Shelley Slade donated $6,900 to Obama in the 2008 election cycle. She donated $500 to Feingold in 2010 and $1,000 to now former Pennsylvania Democratic Rep. Patrick Murphy’s unsuccessful 2010 bid for re-election. Slade has also donated $1,000 to the Democratic group Leadership 21.

A search of records reflecting the political donations of all the attorneys at the two law firms representing Lindley reveals only one donation to a Republican: Slade donated $500 to California Republican Rep. Dan Lungren in 2008.

Despite the lopsided political leanings of the attorneys involved, Goldstein said in a statement that she thinks the reason the Justice Department added itself as a plaintiff in the case is because the evidence strongly supports Lindley’s allegations.

“The Justice Department intervenes in fewer than one out of every four whistleblower False Claims Act lawsuits filed,” Goldstein said. “Its decision to proceed with False Claims Act charges against Gallup here strongly suggests that, in the Justice Department’s view, the company that calls itself ‘the most trusted name in polling’ may have violated the public trust.”

The Daily Caller’s review of what the DOJ and Lindley have publicly presented casts doubt on the basis of the lawsuit.

Lindley alleges misconduct from Gallup on its contracts with the U.S. Mint, the State Department and other agencies, allegations the DOJ has seconded. Internal agency reviews of Gallup’s work, however, have shown that each of those federal agencies praised Gallup for its work and its cost control measures.

While Lindley claims he was fired for complaining about the Gallup misconduct he alleged in his lawsuit, a senior Gallup official told TheDC Lindley’s behavior included walking around describing himself as a “devout Marxist”; that Lindley was upset when Gallup wouldn’t allow him to work remotely from Brazil; and that he was angry when his request for a several-hundred-thousand-dollar raise wasn’t granted.

The senior Gallup official also told TheDC that Lindley had actually asked to be fired so he wouldn’t have to repay the company for his relocation expenses.

Lindley was also a 2008 Obama campaign field organizer in Iowa, a fact he didn’t mention in his lawsuit. Few press reports have mentioned it either.

Sources tell TheDC that Gallup has yet to be served with the official DOJ complaint — which was only filed after senior Gallup officials, according to emails obtained and published by TheDC, wouldn’t submit to pressure from senior Obama campaign adviser David Axelrod to change their polling methodology after a poll showed Mitt Romney leading Obama.

Gallup can’t officially respond to the lawsuit in court, and can’t file a motion to dismiss it, until it receives the lawsuit via a process server.

“They have 120 days to serve a complaint on us — so they might just hold off on service until the election passes,” the senior Gallup official told TheDC. “That way they prevent us from officially responding to their allegations, which might be damaging to the campaign.”

None of the lawyers from the firms representing Lindley responded to TheDC’s requests for comment, nor did DOJ’s spokesperson.

Follow Matthew on Twitter