Tracy Costin, owner of DataUSA Inc. (now ViewPoint USA) pleaded guilty yesterday to one count of conspiracy to commit wire fraud. DataUSA Inc. has conducted polls for George W. Bush and Sen. Joseph Lieberman.
Costin was indicted for telling employees to alter poll data. An employee estimates that 50% of the data sent to Bush's campaign was falsified. An assistant U.S. Attorney says that "Sometimes, the respondent's gender or political affiliation were changed to meet a quota, other times all survey answers were fabricated." These fabrications came about when the polling company was working under the pressure of a deadline.
Costin faces a maximum sentence of five years in prison and a fine of up to $250,000. She has agreed to pay almost $83,000 in restitution to clients.