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Boston Globe: Cognos contract with state “raises ethical issues”

News flash: The Boston Globe reports today that a representative of Cognos ULC, the business intelligence software maker, improperly offered a Massachusetts state official a job in 2006 when the company was pursuing a multi-million dollar contract with the state.

Globe reporter Andrea Estes and correspondent Stephen Kurkjian report that the job offer “could have violated the state’s conflict of interest law, which bars individuals from offering anything to a public office with the intent to influence an official act.”

The job offer is “another instance of Cognos appearing in the thick of questionable activity in pursuit of state business,” the story contends, pointing to a $13 million performance management software contract awarded to Cognos in 2007. The contract raised eyebrows after critics complained it was signed in haste, and it was subsequently revoked by Massachusetts Gov. Deval Patrick in March 2008.

The Globe reports that in the case of both contracts, dealmakers from Cognos, now owned by IBM, bragged about ties to Salvatore F. DiMasi, the powerful Speaker of the Massachusetts House of Representatives. DiMasi has denied having anything to do with either contract.

Joseph Lally, the Cognos rep who allegedly made the job offer on the 2006 contract, did not respond to requests for an interview from the Globe.

Negotiations on the state contracts occurred before the Canadian BI maker was bought by IBM. Big Blue spokesman Chris Andrews told us that IBM has no comment on the Globe story.

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