I've witnessed more than one example of e-Learning and LMS consultants who are hired by an organization to help select a vendor and create a deployment strategy. These practitioners then simply present 3-4 solutions that they have "referral" relationships with, see which one sticks and collect a check (from the client and the vendor).
I have to agree with him that there's a definite conflict of interest if you are simultaneously advising on selection and have any kind of paid relationship with that vendor. I would expect that consultants would disclose that information, but it appears that everyone actually needs to ask - and probably ask both the consultant and the vendor - maybe even ask for it in writing.
Having been involved in this process for many years, I can't imagine how a consultant can do this. You have to be working in the best interest of the client. They are hiring you to act on their behalf as part of their team.
I'm really curious if this is something that's happening much out there. I wish Justyn could name names.