Trump adviser Kellyanne Conway made headlines for all the wrong reasons this week when she vaguely suggested that the Obama administration could be surveilling President Trump through any device, including a microwave. When pressed further about the President’s claims of illegal wiretapping and surveillance, she said, “I’m not in the business of having evidence.” However, a decade before, she was in the business of having evidence — and apparently not doing a very good job of it.
In 2007, Kellyanne Conway, then a Republican pollster, was hired by Whole Foods as an expert witness in a lawsuit filed by the Federal Trade Commission to block the chain’s purchase of Wild Oats, a similar organic grocer, claiming that the merger would create an illegal monopoly, according to Business Insider.
Conway was supposed to design a survey to prove that customers indeed shopped at other organic grocery stores. However, the DC District Court threw away her testimony saying the survey methodology was “fundamentally flawed” and that “it would not be given any weight or consideration” in the case. The response rate of her survey was so low that it “could not be considered reliable” and also included responses from “unqualified respondents” and from people who resided outside the surveyed ZIP codes.
"Inconsistent survey results reveal the presence of underlying flaws in the survey design itself, such as the presentation of questions that are confusing, complex, and poorly worded, which here led to unreliable results," the FTC argued in a memorandum that explained why Conway’s testimony was excluded from the case.
In 2009, Whole Foods was required to sell 32 Wild Oats stores after the court ruled that the business merger was “anticompetitive.”