Polling and market research firm Gallup has agreed to a $10.5 million settlement with the Department of Justice over a complaint that it overcharged two government agencies with which it had no-bid contracts.
According to the DOJ complaint, Gallup overstated its estimated labor hours for orders it had with the State Department and the U.S. Mint, resulting in “falsely inflated prices” for the government work. The DOJ complaint also alleged Gallup engaged in “improper employment negotiations” with a Federal Emergency Management Agency official to secure an overpriced subcontract.
“Contractors must be honest and straightforward in their contract proposals to the government,” the DOJ said in a statement. “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. This type of misconduct results in inflated contract prices and undermines the integrity of the government’s contracting process.”
“This significant corporate settlement and the related criminal prosecution should send a clear message that contractors and government officials alike must operate with honor and integrity,” the department added.
Gallup agreed to the settlement but didn’t admit to any wrongdoing.
“By ending this civil action with no admission of wrongdoing, Gallup can avoid further distraction and focus on serving its customers,” the firm said in a statement. “The company continues its dedication to the highest standard of ethics in business.”
Gallup’s campaign and political polling is among the most closely watched in the country. In June, the firm unveiled a sweeping review and overhaul of its polling methodologies after producing data that skewed toward Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney in the 2012 election.