After a mid-April Gallup poll showing Mitt Romney leading the president was published, Obama advisor David Axelrod attempted to intimidate Gallup staffers with a string of bully emails.
Gallup staffers say Axelrod started the exchange when he questioned the credibility of the mid-April poll, saying it was “saddled with some methodological problems” and directed followers to a National Journal story that suggested outdated sampling, according to a Fox News report. The poll showed Romney leading Obama 48-43 percent.
It was discovered in the email chain titled “Axelrod vs. Gallup,” that the White House also requested that a Gallup staffer “come over and explain our methodology,” which some at Gallup apparently took as a subtle threat.
In one email, a Gallup official said he thought Axelrod’s pressure “sounds a little like a Godfather situation.”
“Imagine Axel[rod] with Brando’s voice: ‘I’d like you to come over and explain your methodology…You got a nice poll there … would be a shame if anything happened to it… .’”
The exchange heated up after Axelrod sent a tweet claiming the Gallup tracking poll was “saddled with some methodological problems.”
After Gallup refused to amend its polling methodology, the Obama administration’s Justice Department ramped up a 2009 whistle-blower lawsuit against the firm by joining the suit, according to a senior Gallup official’s allegation.
Former Gallup employee Michael Lindley filed the suit in 2009 and claims the firm violated the False Claims Act by overcharging the federal government for its services.
It is not clear whether Gallup did go to the White House, or if a White House representative visited Gallup after the firm invited such a visit in response to the "Godfather" exchange.
However the lawsuit was revived after Axelrod questioned Gallup staff over the poll results.