Conflict over conflict of interest

Steve LeSueur

This issue, Washington Technology wrestled with a difficult story about conflict of interest. Some well-placed members of the Industry Advisory Council complained to us that Alan Balutis, the executive director, is taking on outside consulting work that represents such conflict. They contend that the companies for whom he consults are getting preferential treatment when it comes to speaking opportunities and displays at IAC conferences.

IAC is influential and well-respected, as is Balutis. But after Staff Writer Patience Wait looked into the matter, she found that it has been festering since at least November. And, we are told on good authority, the issue will be addressed immediately by the new IAC board that takes office July 1.

One official with whom we spoke complained that Washington Technology had a conflict of interest in pursuing this story. That's because our parent company, PostNewsweek Tech Media, also owns the FOSE trade show. And one of the companies that Balutis consults for is the E-Gov Conference, a competitor of FOSE. In addition, E-Gov's parent company, 101 Communications, also owns Federal Computer Week.

Our purpose, however, is not to further the interests of any particular companies or individuals, but to provide the most accurate account we can of a controversy affecting many of our readers.

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