The flap over Massachusetts CIO Peter Quinn's travel is over. Gov. Mitt Romney's office confirmed yesterday that Quinn did not violate the state's conflict-of-interest rules in his trips to 12 out-of-state conferences during the past year.
"Based on what we learned from our review, there is no conflict. Quinn assures us he has not been involved in any government matter involving the entities that paid for his travel," said Eric Fehrnstrom, director of communications for Romney.
The state's review of Quinn's travel was launched after the Boston Globe reported last month that Quinn failed to obtain the required written permission for some of his trips in 2005. Quinn told the newspaper he received verbal permission for the trips in question from his supervisor, Eric A. Kriss, then secretary of administration and finance for the state.
But the newspaper raised a more serious issue, stating that many of the conferences Quinn attended were sponsored in part by companies "that would stand to benefit" from the state's change in computer software and, citing unnamed Romney administration officials, said Quinn was under investigation for potentially violating the state's conflict-of-interest laws.
The state's review of Quinn's travel logs raised hackles with some open source advocates calling the investigation a ham-handed attempt by opponents to smear Quinn, who has been advocating for the state to adopt open source formats rather than keep only its Microsoft licenses.
One upshot of the much-publicized investigation is that Quinn will have a bit more paperwork to do the next time he travels. "He has been informed that notwithstanding his prior understanding with former Secretary Kriss, all of his travel must be approved in advance," Fehrnstrom said.