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Research 2000 Chief Says Business Has Taken 'A Fatal Hit,' Promises 'Criminal Sanctions' For Kos

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Ali told the Lexington Herald-Leader that, "What we're going to reveal, that will be the end of the Daily Kos." He did not specify to the paper what he was talking about, but hinted it had to do with an alleged billing dispute, which we reported on yesterday.

Meanwhile, Ali's attorney sent a cease and desist letter to Nate Silver of fivethirtyeight.com (see it here) demanding he stop an alleged "campaign to discredit and damage R2K" and retract all previous criticism of the firm. Daily Kos founder Markos Moulitsas confirmed to TPMmuckraker last night that he too has received a cease and desist letter from R2K's lawyer.

Kos said in a post Tuesday that R2K had refused to hand over raw data to substantiate that it actually conducted polls. Asked by TPMmuckraker if he will produce phone records or other evidence to show it had done the polls, Ali said "yes," adding: "Please understand that this has to be litigated in court and not on blogs. I am disgusted at the coverage of this and after we are exonerated, it really will not matter because our business has taken a fatal hit."

He blames the media for the reputational damage caused by stories about Kos' allegations. "You all know damn well that when lawsuits are involved that the parties can not comment. Cease and Desist has to apply to me as well," Ali said in the email.

Kos' claim that R2K's data is "bunk" -- based on a statistical analysis showing "extreme anomalies" in the firm's work -- has led some media outlets to question R2K's past work. The firm denies the allegations.

Peter Baniak, editor of the Herald-Leader in Kentucky, which has been a client of R2K since 2007, told a reporter from his paper: "We are obviously concerned by the issues that have been raised about the polling that Research 2000 conducted for another client, and we will be evaluating our polling going forward."

The Burlington Free Press reported that the news director of WCAX-TV, which used R2K as recently as February to poll Vermont races, had not seen the Kos report as of Tuesday. WCAX's Anson Tebbetts told the paper: "We have used Research 2000 in the past and could in the future. We have talked with them about conducting more polls for us in this campaign season."

Many other state media have used R2K -- from Iowa to Missouri to New Jersey -- but so far most have not published stories on the issue.

You can read Josh's editor's note on R2K in the TPMPolltracker here.