Daily Caller: Axelrod 'Attempting to Subtly Intimidate' Gallup

September 7th, 2012 7:49 AM

The Daily Caller published two troubling stories by Matthew Boyle yesterday. The first, referring to email evidence, contends that senior Obama reelection campaign adviser David Axelrod has attempted "to subtly intimidate the respected polling firm when its numbers were unfavorable to the president," and that in August, "After Gallup declined to change its polling methodology, Obama’s Department of Justice hit it with an unrelated lawsuit" alleging that it has been overcharging the federal government on various contracts.

The second notes that DOJ has not yet formally served that lawsuit on Gallup, leading an unnamed "senior Gallup official" to theorize that "that Holder’s DOJ may be aware that serving the complaint before November’s election would appear politically charged." I'll note two other "little" things and excerpt relevant reports after the jump.

First, "The publicly available (unfiled) complaint shows the DOJ is relying solely on the allegations" a "whistleblower" made almost three years ago "to back its claims."

Second, the original complainant, Michael Lindley, "just so happens" to have been a former field organizer for the 2008 presidential campaign of Barack Obama in Council Bluffs, Iowa, something Boyle observes was "a fact omitted from the DOJ’s legal filings and from most press accounts."

Two such press accounts were from Pete Yost at the Associated Press and Michael "Spikey" Isikoff at NBC News.

First, here's Yost at the AP on August 22:

Government joins false claims suit against Gallup

The Justice Department said Wednesday that it has joined a lawsuit against The Gallup Organization alleging the polling company filed false claims on contracts with the U.S. Mint, the State Department and other government agencies.

A fired Gallup employee who became a whistle-blower, Michael Lindley, alleges in the lawsuit that he discovered shortly after going to work for the polling company that it had engaged in widespread fraud against the government.

Honored as a "Rookie of the Year" at Gallup in 2009, Lindley says he was fired six months later when he told colleagues that if the company didn't report overbilling practices to the government, Lindley would do so himself.

In addition to its polling work, Gallup provides consulting services to government, corporate and other clients around the world.

The Justice Department said it was stepping into the case with respect to Gallup's contracts with the Mint and the State Department.

Second, here's Isikoff at NBC News, also on August 22, appearing to initiate a campaign to impugn Gallup's credibility:

US sues Gallup, alleging pollster overcharged on government contracts

The U.S. Justice Department on Wednesday accused Gallup Organization, the country's most venerable and best-known political polling firm, of bilking the U.S. government on millions of dollars in federal contracts.

In a federal court filing, DOJ lawyers said they will pursue some of the claims first made in a lawsuit filed by a Gallup whistleblower who accused the polling organization of routinely inflating bills on polling services for the U.S. Mint, the U.S. Passport Agency and the Federal Emergency Management Agency.

Gallup -- a Washington, D.C.,-based company that promotes itself as "the most trusted name in polling" -- did not immediately respond to a request for comment. The announcement comes at an awkward time for Gallup, in the middle of an election season when the company's polls are routinely cited in coverage of the presidential election. (In its latest tracking poll released Wednesday, Gallup has Mitt Romney ahead of President Obama by a 47 to 45 percent margin.)

As to Lindley's involvement with the Obama 2008 campaign: If Yost and Isikoff didn't know about it when they wrote their original reports (understandable, given DOJ's failure to disclose it), they do now, and Boyle's Daily Caller stories provide plenty of justification for additional coverage. But don't sit by the computer waiting for updates from either of them. It seems that Daily Caller stories such as these generally get the silent treatment from the establishment press.

Also note that neither writer wonders why the government, which is running daily deficits of over $3 billion is expending so much time and effort going after several million dollars of theoretical recovery when it could be more aggressively attempting to recover hundreds of million or billions in places like Medicare, Medicaid, and the Department of Energy (to name just a few).

Here are a few excerpts from Boyle's two stories, the first of which catches an Obama campaign official in a lie (that's almost a non-story any more), and the second of which notes the possible motivation behind DOJ's unusual delaying tactic:

1:45 AM 09/06/2012

Justice Dept. Gallup lawsuit came after Axelrod criticized pollsters

... Internally, Gallup officials discussed via email how to respond Axelrod’s accusations. One suggested that it “seems like a pretty good time for a blog response,” and named a potential writer.

In response to that suggestion, another senior Gallup official wrote — in an email chain titled “Axelrod vs. Gallup” — that the White House “has asked” a senior Gallup staffer “to come over and explain our methodology too.”

The emails directly contradict what Axelrod’s fellow Obama campaign adviser Robert Gibbs told The Washington Times’ Kerry Picket this week about the campaign’s dealings with Gallup. Picket reported that Gibbs said he was unaware of any communications between the Obama campaign and Gallup.

Published: 2:27 PM 09/06/2012

Weeks later, Justice Department still hasn’t served Gallup with lawsuit

... The senior Gallup official speculated that Holder’s DOJ may be aware that serving the complaint before November’s election would appear politically charged, particularly in light of internal Gallup emails which show senior officials concerned about intimidation attempts by Obama campaign adviser David Axelrod.

“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 said. “That way they prevent us from officially responding to their allegations, which might be damaging to the campaign.”

Gallup can’t ask a judge to dismiss the case until DOJ serves the company.

Dan Spencer's reaction at RedState:

The Axelrod vs. Gallup story is more evidence that Obama is losing and the campaign is desperate. The Good news is that Gallup did not cave in to the attempted “intimidation” and now the story is public. Does the Axelrod vs.Gallup story explain why we have seen so many skewed polls during this campaign?

The main stream media should Demand that Axelrod and Gibbs tell the truth about what happened.

Fat chance of that.

Cross-posted at BizzyBlog.com.