Former FEMA Exec Timothy Cannon Pleads to Felony for Corruptly Steering Contracts to Gallup

Charges Arise from Whistleblower Lawsuit by former Gallup Employee Michael Lindley

Former FEMA executive Timothy Cannon pleaded guilty in federal court in Washington, D.C. to a felony conflict of interest charge for steering a FEMA contract and funding to Gallup while he was negotiating a partnership position with the worldwide polling firm. Cannon faces a maximum sentence of five years in prison and a $250,000 fine. Sentencing is scheduled for April 9, 2013. Under the terms of Cannon’s plea agreement with the Department of Justice, Cannon must cooperate fully on “all matters as to which the Government deems cooperation relevant.”

The criminal charge arises from a qui tam lawsuit that whistleblower law firms Vogel, Slade & Goldstein and Katz, Marshall & Banks filed against Gallup on behalf of their client, Michael Lindley in 2009. Last fall, the Department of Justice joined in Lindley’s civil lawsuit, which charges Gallup with bilking federal agencies out of millions of dollars in contract funds. Both Gallup and Cannon are named as defendants in the civil whistleblower lawsuit.

Cannon pleaded guilty to charges in a criminal information filed against him on January 2, 2013. In the nine-page charging document, the DOJ s against Cannon cites several internal Gallup emails in which Gallup executives discussed hiring Cannon if the FEMA director got Gallup a contract. In one internal email, Gallup’s CEO stated “[I]f [CANNON] gets us a big deal at FEMA… I (sic) think we should hire him.” According to the complaint, after Cannon helped secure the multi-million dollar FEMA contract for Gallup, the polling company extended Cannon a partnership offer with a minimum annual salary of $175,000.

Cannon’s corrupt dealings with Gallup also are detailed in whistleblower Michael Lindley’s False Claims Act lawsuit against the polling firm. Lindley’s complaint states that after he complained internally about Gallup’s alleged misconduct, including its conflict of interest violations, and threatened to report the misconduct to the Department of Justice, Gallup fired him.

Legal Pleadings

Cannon Plea Agreement
January 15, 2013

Criminal Information Charging Timothy W. Cannon with Violating 18 U.S.C. §§ 208(a) & 216(a)(2)
January 2, 2013

First Amended Complaint: United States of America and Michael Lindley v. The Gallup Organization
November 27, 2012

United States Government Complaint in Intervention
November 27, 2012


Businessweek: Ex-U.S. Official Guilty in Conflict Case Tied to Gallup
January 15, 2013

NBC News: Ex-FEMA official to plead guilty to steering contracts to Gallup during job hunt
January 4, 2013

Washington Post: Gallup accused of bilking government
November 28, 2012

Financial Fraud Law: Gallup Defrauded Federal Agencies
November 29, 2012

NBC News: US sues Gallup, alleging pollster overcharged on government contracts
August 22, 2012