Justice Department officials joined a whistle blower lawsuit and alleged that The Gallup Organization, a major polling firm, intentionally overestimated the amount of time it would take to complete a job for the government and was paid accordingly.
“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 on the lawsuit. “Working with relators and federal investigators, we will do all that we can to act against those who illegitimately bill the American taxpayers.”
Gallup, known as one of the premier polling firms with respect to presidential politics, had contracts to conduct surveys for the U.S. Mint and the State Department in addition to other government agencies.
“According to the whistleblower’s complaint, Gallup violated the False Claims Act by giving the government inflated estimates of the number of hours that it would take to perform its services, even though it had separate and lower internal estimates of the number of hours that would be required,” the Justice Department explained. “The complaint further alleges that the government paid Gallup based on the inflated estimates, rather than Gallup’s lower internal estimates.”
The latest Gallup daily tracking figures show Mitt Romney leading President Obama 47-45.