Your efforts before and during the proceedings were the key to my success and having this matter overturned in my favor. I cannot extend enough praise for the diligence and outstanding effort on the part of you, your team and your firm.
—An executive’s praise of Todd following the termination of his proposed debarment

Todd Canni is a government contracts lawyer and serves in a quasi-outside general counsel role for many of his contractor clients, handling all of their legal needs from day-to-day counseling, transactional matters, ethics and compliance events, litigation, and internal and government investigations. Todd also is a leading suspension and debarment lawyer. He works out of the Washington, DC, and Los Angeles offices.

Todd counsels his clients throughout the life-cycle of a government contract in all aspects of their business with the federal government, including:

  • Government contracts compliance and ethics matters,
  • Bid protests (pre-award and post);
  • Mergers & acquisitions (asset purchases), including due diligence and novations;
  • Suspension and debarment proceedings, including security clearance suspensions; 
  • False Claims Act litigation, qui tam litigation, and de facto debarments;
  • Disputes with the Government, including claims and terminations;
  • Government and internal investigations;
  • Contractor disclosures, both voluntary and mandatory;
  • Developing and enhancing ethics and compliance programs; and
  • Counseling on IP data rights.

Todd regularly represents his clients in bid protests at the Government Accountability Office (GAO) and U.S. Court of Federal Claims (COFC). From 2017 to 2019, Todd served as lead bid protest counsel for client ConServe in its bid protest challenging $2.8 billion-dollar contract awards by the Department of Education for debt collection services. As lead counsel, Todd handled all of the court hearings for ConServe, including injunctive relief hearings, merits hearings, and successfully argued the case up on appeal before the Federal Circuit where he appeared before a three-judge panel who upheld the lower court’s decision in part. 

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Todd has successfully represented scores of government contractors through suspension and debarment proceedings, including individuals (owners, officers, executives, engineers and other employees) and companies of all sizes, including large publicly-traded companies, mid-sized companies, and small businesses. Todd has appeared before nearly every active civilian and DoD Suspension Debarment office, including the Air Force, Army, DLA, Navy, EPA, GSA, DHS, Interior, NASA, NSF, SBA, OPM, HUD, DOT, and Veterans Affairs.

Todd is a former "government insider" and one of only a few currently practicing private lawyers that formerly served as a government debarring official. That experience offers clients a unique perspective on how the government prosecutes debarment cases and what it takes to resolve them. Todd previously served as Director, Suspension & Debarment Operations, leading the daily operations of the Department of Air Force's suspension and debarment program. Whether it is a Notice of Proposed Debarment, Notice of Suspension, Show Cause Letter, Request for Information or Administrative Agreement, Todd is known for developing innovative solutions to ensure his clients sufficiently address the government's concerns, demonstrate responsibility and remain eligible. He also authored the chapter on Administrative Agreements set forth in the Practitioner's Guide to Suspension & Debarment.

Todd has extensive experience successfully resolving "parallel proceedings" in which the government pursues government contractors from all angles, including seeking criminal and/or civil enforcement under the False Claims Act as well as suspension and debarment. Todd has significant experience in counseling clients through False Claims Act investigations and qui tam litigation brought by “whistleblowers.” In this complex, high-stakes environment, Todd's clients appreciate that he has been on the inside and understands the perspectives of key government stakeholders, enabling him to devise successful strategies.

Representative Experience

  • Successfully represented Continental Service Group Inc., in a bid protest at the U.S. Court of Federal Claims involving the Department of Education's $2.8 billion contract for debt collection services.
  • Successfully represented clients through bid protests at GAO and the U.S. Court of Federal Claims.
  • Successfully represented clients before every civilian and DoD Suspension Debarment office, including the Air Force, Army, DLA, Navy, EPA, GSA, DHS, Interior, NASA, NSF, OPM and SBA, among others.

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  • Successfully represented clients in parallel civil and criminal proceedings, including False Claims Act matters, involving simultaneous interest and enforcement by the Department of Justice, U.S. Attorneys' Offices, and agency Suspension Debarment Officials.
  • Successfully resolved contract disputes and claims before the Civilian Board of Contract Appeals and U.S. Court of Federal Claims.
  • Specific client engagements withheld due to sensitivity, but client references available upon request.

Professional Highlights

  • Serves as Co-Chair of the American Bar Association (ABA), Public Contracts Law Section, Suspension and Debarment Committee; holds this position along with Rodney Grandon, former Air Force Suspension Debarment Official, and another well-regarded practitioner.
  • Served as Director, Suspension & Debarment Operations for the Air Force, managing the operations of a program acclaimed by senior members of Congress and academia as the "Gold Standard" in suspension and debarment programs. 
  • Received Department of Air Force’s “Productivity Excellence Award” for his work managing the debarment program during its then-most active year in DoD history.
  • Recognized by The Legal 500 U.S. for Government Contracts (2019).
  • Holds a DoD security clearance.

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Media Coverage

  • Quoted extensively in the Inside ARM article “Department of ED vs. Collection Agencies Saga Will Come to a Head on April 16,” April 8, 2019
  • Quoted in the Inside ARM article “Transcript of Teleconference in Dept. of ED NextGen Case Reveals Maddening Exchange,” March 11, 2019
  • Quoted in the Bloomberg BNA article, “Missing Data Hinders Contractor Disclosure Rule Nine Years In(1),” August 2, 2017

Seminars and Presentations

  • "Collusion, Bribery and Fraud, Oh My! Does Your Ethics & Compliance Program Protect You from Increased Coordination and Scrutiny By the DOJ, Investigators, and Government Customers?" Pillsbury Winthrop Shaw Pittman CLE Marathon, San Diego, January 30, 2020
  • Moderator, “An Update on Suspension and Debarment Activity and Compliance Advice to Keep Contractors out of the Government’s Line of Fire,” Federal Publications Seminars: 2019 Government Contracts Review & Outlook – West Coast Conference, San Diego, CA. November 2019
  • “Battling the Government Hydra: A Coordinated Approach to Defending Parallel or Eventual Criminal, Debarment, Civil and Contractual Enforcement Proceedings,” Pillsbury’s 5th Annual West Coast Government Contracts Summit, May 9, 2019
  • Developments in Suspension and Debarment and Ethics Practices Impacting the Supply Chain, April 17, 2019
  • An Update on Suspension and Debarment Activity and Compliance Advice to Keep Contractors out of the Government’s Line of Fire, 2018 Government Contracts Review & Outlook - West Coast, November 8, 2018
  • Pillsbury’s Government Contracts Fall 2017 Briefing – Panel on Investigations, False Claims, and Suspension & Debarment Updates (Oct. 3, 2017 – Tysons, VA)
  • Presentation/Speaker, “Introduction to Practicing Before Suspension and Debarment Officials in Federal Contracting,” ABA Sponsored Webinar, 2017.
  • Moderator, “Tsunamis, Rip Currents, and Great Whites: Navigating the Government’s Coordination of Fraud Remedies in Today’s FCA Environment,” ABA’s 22nd Annual Federal Procurement Institute (FPI) —Sea Changes: Riding the Wave in Public Procurement, 2016.
  • Speaker, “Developments & Issues on Debarments and Suspensions,” NCMA Dulles Chapter, 2014.
  • Panelist, “Best Practices in Risk Mitigation for Government Contractors: From the Perspective of Suspension Debarment Officials and Those Who Regularly Appear Before Them,” Public Contracting Institute, 2013.
  • Panelist, “Faced with Possible Debarment, What Should You Do?” Society of Corporate Compliance & Ethics, Twelfth Annual Compliance & Ethics Institute, 2013.
  • Moderator, Suspension & Debarment Conference, “Presentation of Matters in Opposition, Contractor Meetings, & Fact Finding,” Council of the Inspectors General on Integrity & Efficiency (CIGIE) and the Interagency Suspension & Debarment Committee (ISDC), 2012.
  • Panelist, “Current Issues In Government Contracting,” Suspension & Debarment Panel, Association of Accountants & Financial Professionals in Business, 2012.
  • Moderator, “What Industry Needs to Know,” Industry Day Event, General Services Administration & Department of Air Force, 2012.
  • Instructor, Suspension & Debarment, Federal Law Enforcement Training Center, 2012.
  • Guest Speaker, Federal News Radio, Interviewed Regarding the Wartime Commission Interim Report on Contingency Contracting, Recommendations on Suspension & Debarment, 2011.
  • Presentation/Panelist, “An Examination of the Role of Suspension & Debarment & Discussion of Lessons Learned,” ABA Annual Meeting, Toronto Canada, 2011.

Education

  • LL.M., Government Procurement Law, The George Washington University Law School
    with highest honors

    J.D., The Catholic University of America, Columbus School of Law
    magna cum laude, Catholic University Law Review, Associate Editor on the Editorial Board

    B.A., Hofstra University

Admissions

  • District of Columbia

    Maryland

    California

Courts

  • U.S. Court of Appeals for the First Circuit

    U.S. Court of Federal Claims

    U.S. District Court for the District of Maryland

    U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit

    U.S. District Court for the Central District of California

    U.S. District Court for the Southern District of California

    U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia

Clerkships

  • Served as law clerk for the Hon. Edward Damich, then the sitting Chief Judge of the U.S. Court of Federal Claims.