Gallup agrees to $10.5 million settlement with Justice Department

The Gallup Organization has agreed to pay $10.5 million to the Justice Department to settle a matter involving accusations of over-billing for government contract work.

According to a release from Justice, Gallup allegedly "overstated its true estimated labor hours in proposals to the U.S. Mint and State Department for contracts and task orders that were to be awarded without competition."

The settlement includes no acknowledgement of wrongdoing from Gallup.

"By ending this civil action with no admission of wrongdoing, Gallup can avoid further distraction and focus on serving its customers," the polling organization said in a statement. "The company continues its dedication to the highest standard of ethics in business."

The settlement also resolves a case in which Gallup was accused of "improper engagement" with a Federal Emergency Management Agency employee, Timothy Cannon, to obtain work and funding from the disaster relief agency.

“We will pursue contractors that seek to take advantage of the government by providing estimates that do not reflect their best judgment, or by offering employment to federal officials who have a conflict of interest," said Stuart F. Delery, acting assistant attorney general for the civil division of the Justice Department. "This type of misconduct results in inflated contract prices and undermines the integrity of the government’s contracting process.”

Cannon previously paid $40,000 to settle his case with Justice, in which he stood accused of negotiating employment with Gallup while also negotiating its agreement with FEMA. He pled guilty and was sentenced to probation.

"This case exposed a cozy arrangement between a contractor and a government employee where nobody was looking out for the American taxpayer,” said Ronald C. Machen Jr., U.S. Attorney for the District of Columbia.

The legal matter is the latest problem for the polling organization, whose results came under much scrutiny during the 2012 campaign. After its polling showed significantly different results than other pollsters, it announced it would review its methodology.

After the election, Gallup parted ways with longtime partner USA Today.

Aaron Blake covers national politics and writes regularly for The Fix.
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