A former senior FEMA official pleaded guilty Tuesday to a conflict of interest charge involving a $6 million government contract with the Gallup Organization, the well-known polling and market research firm.
Timothy W. Cannon, the former human resources director at the Federal Emergency Management Agency, admitted to overseeing and trying to expand Gallup’s contract at the same time he was trying to get hired by the company.
The case is related to a broader civil lawsuit, in which a federal whistleblower alleges that Gallup inflated its costs estimates and work hours for three federal agencies.
According to Assistant U.S. Attorney David Johnson, Cannon was instrumental in getting FEMA to hire Gallup in 2008 to work on improving employee morale in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina.
In spring 2008, Gallup’s CEO wrote in an e-mail to a colleague that Cannon had told him he had previously applied for a job with Gallup and “wants to do a real good job at FEMA and that maybe he would try again.”