BREAKING: All In The Family, Scott Tipton Style?

FRIDAY UPDATE #2: Reporter Allison Sherry of the Denver paper adds a crucial detail to this developing story today–that is, actual House rules which may have been broken. Sherry reports that House rules state members of Congress may not benefit financially from their position–and, “for the purposes of enforcement,” relatives are included in that prohibition.

If that’s right, then this could indeed be more serious for Scott Tipton than a benign if unseemly mistake by his “government relations specialist” (daughter). Like we said below, you don’t appear before the Ethics Committee to apologize unless you have a real problem.

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FRIDAY UPDATE: It appears that Democrats have an actual mouthpiece in the form of new state party chairman Rick Palacio–wasting no time getting a statement out this morning hammering Tipton for this ethics problem, as well as inattention to Pinon Canyon resulting in a last-minute scramble to keep an important funding ban in place. Smack!

“After five months in office, it’s time for Scott Tipton to get control over the functions of his office and start acting like a Congressman. His office was out to lunch on the Pinon Canyon funding ban and put our ranching communities at risk, requests from local communities for support for local projects go unfulfilled, and his lack of leadership threatens the existence of nearly every airport in his district.  Now his spokesman is pushing conspiracy theories after basic questions are asked about a letter Rep. Tipton himself sent to the House Ethics Committee. It’s time for Scott Tipton to get off the grassy knoll and do his job.”

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Politico’s Marin Cogan filed a report moments ago this evening that we’re pretty sure freshman Rep. Scott Tipton doesn’t want you to read. Tomorrow’s big story:

GOP Freshman Rep. Scott Tipton (R-Colo.) sent a letter to the House ethics committee Thursday regarding “improper” e-mails his daughter sent using his name to solicit business for the tele-town hall services company where she’s employed.

Elizabeth Tipton has been contacting congressional offices and introducing herself as the congressman’s daughter, to arrange appointments for Broadnet, the tele-townhall services company she began working for in January 2011…

Which is one hell of a way to score business in Washington, if you haven’t heard–

The letter goes on to say that Tipton has consulted his “staff and the House Ethics Rules and I do not believe this to be a violation of any ethics rule. However, I believe it to be an improper use of my name and I would like to apologize and assure you that it will not happen again. If there are any other measures that must be taken in this regard please let me know and I will be happy to do so.”

And of course, it gets better:

Broadnet provides more than 100 congressional offices with tele-town hall services via various vendors-companies like iConstituent, DCS and Zata|3. Tipton’s office confirmed that one of Broadnet’s vendors, iConstituent, provides services for their office. [Pols emphasis]

“We use iConstituent, which is the same company John Salazar, our predecessor, used. They were cheapest,” said [Tipton spokesman Josh] Green…

Yeah, but there’s a little more to the story, Josh:

The Colorado-based company Broadnet was co-founded in 2004 by Steve Patterson, Tipton’s nephew and the organization’s current CEO. [Pols emphasis] Patterson and his wife, Angela, gave $750 to Tipton in 2005, and Angela gave the maximum contribution amount, $2,400, to the Tipton campaign in 2010, FEC filings show.

So what do you think, folks? Tipton’s spokesman Josh Green describes this as a “sleazy political attack” on a “22 year old girl,” but that’s not quite how she is representing herself, is it? Our first thoughts went right back to Rep. Scott McInnis’ wife on the payroll. An additional degree of separation or two, but still, as you can see, family business–and not just immediate family either! Tipton was already looking vulnerable enough on hard policy issues: the last thing he needs is an honest-to-God ethics problem dripping in the background.

And just so we’re clear, folks, you don’t send contrite explanations to the House Ethics Committee about your daughter’s job unless you’ve got a problem.

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  1. OneEyedOwl says:

    but I don’t see the flagrant foul here. What exactly am I missing? Hell, at least give him credit for ‘fessing up early.

    • Aristotle says:

      Given that the typical Republican response is to cover up and deny, Tipton should be given credit for this, and his daughter is still really a kid. She’s still allowed a few stupid moves like this.

      • bullshit! says:

        I do believe that these tele townhalls are paid for with franking privilege funds. There are tighter rules for that, no matter how cute and innocent one’s daughter appears.

        And I think before you “give credit” to Tipton “fessing up early,” we should probably learn more about why he had to send the letter. Maybe it wasn’t so “early?”

        You could be right, but there’s not enough information to know that yet. What I see is a congressman’s daughter dropping Dad’s name to get business, and Dad going to the Ethics Committee. There’s an unknown middle step in there that’s pretty damned important.

      • DavidThi808 says:

        Unless there’s something really bad here we haven’t heard about, I chalk this up to a young kid making a mistake and Tipton coming clean on it right away.

        ps to SXP & droll – this does not mean I support Tipton, just that I don’t think this particular story is an issue.

        • Gilpin Guy says:

          Giving cover to Republicans seems to be a full time blogging assignment for you now days.  And you certainly are a more progressive than the rest of us and if there is any doubt than we should just ask you right?

          No doubt if it was Obama or Bennet you would be having a conniption fit over how terribly disappointed you were with them.

          • DavidThi808 says:

            From either party. Yes his daughter screwed up but unless it is major I think it should be left to be handled by the system.

            • droll says:

              I agree with you when we’re talking about a knocked up daughter, or even a kid with a DUI. Totally. Only an issue if the politician parent uses influence to cover it up or get the kid out of trouble.

              Basically the question Tipton himself is asking the HEC is if this was a political misdeed, just unseemly, or nothing at all. It’s not like she was asked “any relation?” when the emails were received. It’s how she started them. Not that her dad uses the service, just that yeah, that Tipton.

              So like what’s “major” in your mind? When does anything become political to you? If I drop the name of a politician relative do I get off the hook for anything?

              Anyway, you most certainly are falling into the Tipton trap. This is what his spokesman wants you to automatically think. Not any consideration to why it may or may not be a problem, just “that poor girl.” <– Condescending jerk you happen to agree with. Poor, poor professional adult. And poor me, shocked at the coinkydink.

            • BlueCat says:

              getting pregnant or busted for drugs or sent to rehab.  This is a young woman  using her father’s position as a congressman to solicit business in the context of her  all grown up now job. You’d think she’d have had the sense to run it by her father first and that he would have had the sense, if consulted, to tell her it wouldn’t be proper and is the kind of thing that makes pols and their relatives look bad. This is a legitimate story, not dragging some poor innocent teenager through the mud for private, personal life dust ups. It also doesn’t appear that their is any particularly bloodthirsty call for head rolling action going out here.   One of these days you’re going to bend over backwards so far to show how R friendly you can be, something’s going to tear, Dave.

            • Gilpin Guy says:

              this woman doesn’t know the difference between right and wrong?

              It is OK if she uses daddy’s name to make money pimping his connections.

              Is it OK because she is a Republican and Republicans can use government privileges for personal profit?

              Don’t make me go back on my promise by being such a total dick that I have to respond to your spineless excuses for this kind of shitty Republican greed.

        • Gilpin Guy says:

          And now you feel compelled to include a  standard disclaimer after every post about how fair and kind Republicans are that you wouldn’t vote for them but by god they really are terrific people.  Talk about the Lieberman smell.

        • droll says:

          I don’t think you’re a Republican. In fact, I’ve never thought about your affiliation(s) at all. I don’t care.

          The reason I wish all your posts would become real boys so I could kill them, stopping them harassing anyone else, is because you don’t comprehend threads. I’m also aware you wouldn’t know that, otherwise I wouldn’t blog-hate you so much.

          Oh yeah, in that other Tipton thread Ari didn’t make a “fair” point, he made the ONLY point. <— Great example of your shortcoming.

          Of course, you’ll need an insult to somehow absolve you of not making sense. Here you go, fuck head. Now go forth and sin no more!

          But hey, that’s a super great way to teach everyone how mature you are and expect others to be. Really. A beacon to the whole Pols community.

        • Gilpin Guy says:

          Any petty personal attacks on David for being a David Sirota, excuse Republicans at every opportunity, douche bag were not intended to be factual.

          I’ll stop with the nasty.  It just sends me into mean mode every time he talks about Republicans as if they are invincible Gods who he can’t criticize.

          • JeffcoBlue says:

            We let Brandon Shaffer get attacked day after day over total bullshit. CD-4 was not drawn for him by Dems, it has a 10 point GOP advantage, and he can announce his run whenever the hell he wants. Nothing from the peanut gallery here in his defense while he gets hit with bullshit every day and the papers print it.

            Stupid right wing bloggers and talk radio guys attacked John Morse all session over bullshit. But their persistence got it in the paper several times.

            Every day I read people whining on this blog about how the right wing runs circles around Dems on messaging, how we’re always flatfooted and making excuses for our enemies when we should be holding their feet to the fire.

            For fuck’s sake, Scott Tipton’s daughter goes around the Hill dropping Dad’s name to land franking business, Tipton has to apologize to the ethics committee, a whole bunch of unanswered questions, and you people think it’s “great” that he “fessed up!” Is there not a politically wired brain in the house? Anywhere? Do you think maybe you should know the whole story before you let him off the goddamn hook?

            Are you guys trying to force me to agree with Dwyer that our side just sucks at this?

    • Independent Voice says:

      who recently received a glossy brochure defending old people (trying to walk back the Medicaire debacle) and asking for money.  Paid for by the franking priviledge.

      Tiptoe’s family is so elated to be part of the congressional cluster.  No matter.  He is finished before he even got started.

  2. Ralphie says:

    Just think, you’re less than six months into your term and you’ve managed to fuck things up this badly.

    I can’t wait for the next 18 months.

    You go, boy!

  3. abraham says:

    It is pretty clear that some folks – who probably watched too much West Wing – have tried to capitalize on a family relationship.  Shame on them, and they should get smacked hard.

    As for Tipton, I don’t see an issue here.  He did what he should have done – bring to the Ethics Committee.

    You guys can quit breathing in paper bags now.

    • Gilpin Guy says:

      What it shows is that Tipton is just another Republican who enables his family to use government as a family jobs creation program.  He rails about the evils of government spending while his family is collecting paychecks off of government business.  Think Liz Cheney and how much money she has made off of daddy’s name.  The apple doesn’t fall far from the tree.

      This little episode of All in the Family won’t have any repercussions but it does show how shallow Republican values really are.  A real Republican father wouldn’t raise a daughter to be a sleazy, slutty grifter.

  4. Gilpin Guy says:

    And where did this 22 year old learn how to work her connections?  She must have been taking lessons from Palin on how to be a great grifter or maybe daddy.

    Anybody who thinks this is a youthful discretion mistake obviously isn’t into personal accountability.  You don’t think she knew she was crossing the line when she started using daddies name to dial up some connections?

    What bullshit to call it a “youthful” mistake.  Bullshit.

    • Aristotle says:

      I’m sure more will come out and this stuff will become more clear. But as of now, based on what I’ve read, this is no reason to blow a stack and call for Tipton’s head.

  5. blowjones75 says:

    Tiptons office confirmed that one of Broadnets vendors provide service to their office. That my friends, is the real story. So let me get this right, fiscal hawk Tipton’s office was using taxpayer dollars to line the pocket of his family’s business.  Or, to rephrase, line the pocket of a major contributor?  

    If you read the politico story it sounds like he only sent the letter after HOYER brought the issue out.. NOT ON HIS OWN..  Let’s give some credit where credit is due.  

    • cdsmith says:

      It looks like Broadnet resells iConstituent, and also Tipton’s office uses iConstituent… but unless Tipton’s office bought it via that particular reseller, there’s no indication that any money went from Tipton to his daughter’s employer.

      Even if Tipton’ office did purchase through Broadnet, I don’t necessarily find an ethical issue there… but in that case, it would be shady that they carefully phrased their response to hide that information.

      Definitely the bigger story is the one Pols reported on, that Tipton’s daughter was using his position to peddle influence for her employer… that’s certainly inappropriate, as everyone agrees.  Whether it was entirely her mistake, or her employer’s too, or other people were involved… that remains to be seen.

  6. ProgressiveCowgirl says:

    I once was organizing an event and got chewed out by an invitee for not disclosing up front that a family member of mine happened to be an outrageously UNsuccessful political candidate. Being even a failed politician’s kid is a damned if you do, damned if you don’t thing sometimes, much less an actual currently serving Congressman. I’d have to see the emails to be sure, but it doesn’t sound like a given that she meant to drum up business by implying it would influence Tipton. She may just have been disclosing.

    • Mr. Toodles says:

      Looking at their website they offer corporate services too. If they were concerned about conflict of interest they could have put her there where she could have been much more anonymous. Also, the first quoted paragraph says that she improperly used his name to solicit business, which is why it is being reported in the first place.

      • ProgressiveCowgirl says:

        Could have been inappropriate. Lord knows being paid on commission has provoked worse behavior. But I just see the other side of it too, and unless somebody actually releases an email where she’s obviously bartering influence with her dad for sales, I’m not buying that it MUST be inappropriate just because Tipton apologized for it.  

        • Mr. Toodles says:

          I worked in commission sales for years, and I guess that is why I have such a big problem with this. One question I have is, legally does she have to disclose her dad is in congress? The CEO is his nephew and it hasn’t been a problem. If she doesn’t, why bring him up at all? Whether or not influence is implied, she puts her dad in an uncomfortable position.

          Don’t get me wrong, I am all about networking when it comes to sales or jobs or anything for that matter. I drop names to get in the door all the time if I have a relationship with the person whose name I am using and they are fine with me bringing that up or they gave me the contact.

          If this business is as prolific as it seems, then she could have said Reps. X, Y and Z use our service as well as business A, B and C which are based in your district.

          • dukeco1 says:

            relevant as to the type of service she provides? It is a service that her father and his colleagues regularly purchase.

            Your comparison, PCG, was to a lecture from someone in your role as an organizer. There is an inherent profit motive at play here, unless I misunderstand…which frequently is the case.

            • ProgressiveCowgirl says:

              I’m just saying that if she says “I felt it would be inappropriate NOT to say something,” I would understand her point, and I’m not going to write that explanation off until somebody releases the full text.

              We don’t know if the mention of Tipton was as simple as something like, “And incidentally, if you’d rather avoid any conflict of interest due to my father being Congressman Tipton, I can refer you to another sales representative.”

              I don’t like scandals where there’s written correspondence at the root of it, but the public is expected to be outraged without actually seeing what was written. My outrage may not be much of a precious commodity, but I’m still not gonna waste it on this one (much though I dislike Tipton intensely) until I see the full text and it really IS inappropriate on the daughter’s part.

              Since we’re talking full disclosure, in the interests of such, my views on political kids are heavily influenced by a children’s book “The Congressman’s Daughter” that was given to me as a kid when it became clear I was a total politics nerd (maybe about the time I started reading the political news before the comics at breakfast, back when the Rocky was around?) and in which something sort of similar happens, where the kid gets her father in trouble after getting flustered and starting to talk about “my dad says” and “my dad thinks” and ending up handing his opponent’s team a bunch of strategic information by accident. Seems to me this could be equally embarrassing and stupid rather than malicious.

  7. ScottP says:

    Meh.

    My feeling of “Meh” is underwhelming and just north of apathetic. The part that really gets my don’t-give-a-damn going is where it says over 100 congressional offices use Broadnet’s services. If 100+ offices are using it, it must offer fairly decent services. If only a small amount of offices with connections to Tipton were the only ones to use the service, then it may be suspect.

    Why did she think she needed to include, “I’m Scott Tipton’s daughter” in her emails? Her last name is Tipton!

  8. ClubTwitty says:

    it’s more of the same kind of steady drip-drip-drip that Tipton doesn’t need.  Most of the time his mention in the media is him repeating a GOP talking point, generally with some sort of factual or other error/over generalization/false cause-effect; still, a cause celebre was cutting spending (gut one-half the government I believe it was).  

    Now, as per ‘just any other politician’ we see his family profiting from their connections….it’s like…”He’s just like all the rest.   sigh What a disappointment.  I thought he really loved the Gadsen flag…”

    So, while he is winning favors from the oilies, who undoubtedly will reward him kindly come re-election time–he is disappointing the Tea Party (who never quite trusted him to begin with, preferring Col. Cowboy); he is pissing off the swing areas (and constituencies) in his state; while somewhere north of one-third of his voting constituents are already planning to vote for the other guy.

    Will oil money alone win the day for Tipton?  His performance is unlikely to.  

    • droll says:

      I keep thinking that if this girl would’ve been Ms. Udall people wouldn’t have reacted so automatically.

      But that’s the price we pay, eh? When I write a serious post I often feel the need to write a disclaimer for seriousness. Tipton is a shit who does shitty things. This is a thing. Assumptions will be made. Common sense suggests to stop being a shit if you aren’t prepared for it.

    • BlueCat says:

      And I don’t think the story, as reported in the Politico piece, shows anything like over the top , heavy breathing hysteria.  It’s a legit story being reported in an appropriate tone, including facts that can legitimately be viewed as relevant. Some posters here might be getting overly dramatic about it but the reporting is anything but. Most will consider this less than earth shaking but that doesn’t mean it isn’t a reasonable subject for reporting. After all, Tipton himself considered it worthy of a contrite letter so even he agrees this is something that required being addressed which is all the story does.

    • Colorado Pols says:

      That’s the broader issue here for Tipton — the drip, drip, drip of one error, mistake or screwup after another. If this was the first controversial thing associated with Tipton since he was elected, it might be less of an issue. But it’s starting to look like every time Tipton’s name is in the news, it’s a bad story.

  9. Independent Voice says:

    Rob Douglas of the Rob and Cari Radio Show reports that BROADNET was founded by Tipton’s nephew in 2004 and his daughter was an “intern” there and then “offered a job” after the election.  In a taped interview (sorry I’m terrible at this stuff and can’t screenshot the press release OR upload the audio) Tipton states unequivocally that BROADNET does NOT work for the government.  here’s the text of Rob’s press release:

    On April 7, 2011, Congressman Scott Tipton (R-CO3D) appeared on The Cari and Rob Show (listen to attached mp3) and was asked how his daughter obtained a job as a Government Relations Specialist for a company called Broadnet in Washington, DC the same month he was sworn in as a freshman congressman.

    In the course of answering the questioning, Congressman Tipton stated: “…it’s [Broadnet] a private company by the way, it does not work for the government…” [emphasis added] In the context of the Q&A, Congressman Tipton was clearly trying to downplay any linkage between him, his daughter’s employment and work with the government his daughter’s firm might be involved in as any linkage and the timing of her employment could raise questions of propriety.

    Today, Politico reports in a piece titled, Rep. Scott Tipton: Daughter’s Hill E-mails ‘Improper’:  “…Elizabeth Tipton has been contacting congressional offices and introducing herself as the congressman’s daughter, to arrange appointments for Broadnet, the tele-townhall services company she began working for in January 2011.” See http://www.politico.com/news/s

    In the Politico report, it is quite apparent that not only has Broadnet been working for the government – specifically, more than 100 Congressional offices retain Broadnet’s services – but that Congressman Tipton would have been fully aware of that fact given Broadnet was co-founded in 2004 by Tipton’s nephew who is the current CEO of Broadnet.

    Was Congressman Tipton completely honest and forthcoming when he addressed this issue on our radio show? We’ll leave it to others to judge for themselves. What is clear to us – as the co-hosts raising the issue on April 7th – is that Congressman Tipton was not forthcoming with the extent of the relationship between him, his family, his daughter, Broadnet and Broadnet’s work for Congress. That is very disappointing.

    For further information, contact Rob Douglas at 970-871-0600

    Rob Douglas

    The Cari and Rob Show | Syndicated | Weekdays 10am – 1pm MT

    CAN ANYONE SAY NEPOTISM?

  10. Gray in the mountains says:

    I think this one very, very inconsequential. I don’t want him to be able to wage a campaign saying “Those evil Ds are going after my family. When they stoop that low you know they have nothing constructive to add.”

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