Tipton refutes nepotism allegations
Spokesman: Nothing improper about hiring vendors with ties to his family
U.S. Rep. Scott Tipton’s office Thursday defended its hiring earlier this year of two vendors that contract with a Colorado company owned by the Republican congressman’s nephew.
The Denver Post reported Thursday that Tipton’s office may have violated ethics rules in doing so. The paper said while members of Congress are barred from hiring family members, the rules are less clear about contracting with vendors that do so.
Tipton spokesman Josh Green said there was nothing improper in the hiring of Arlington, Va.-based Constituent Services, and Washington, D.C.-based iConstituent. The two vendors manage constituent correspondence, put together online newsletters and handled an April telephone town hall meeting for Tipton.
The two companies are vendors of Broadnet, a Colorado-based company owned by Tipton’s nephew, Steve Patterson.
Green said the vendors are not affiliated with Patterson’s company, which Patterson owned long before his uncle was elected to Congress last fall.
Green said Tipton’s predecessor, former U.S. Rep. John Salazar, and several other members of Congress, also used the vendors.
Invoices from the two companies provided by Green show Tipton’s office paid the vendors a total of $5,270 for their services. The Post, however, reported the office paid $7,771 to the vendors.
Late last month, Tipton sent a letter to the House Ethics Committee apologizing for his daughter’s use of his name in trying to drum up business for her employer. Elizabeth Tipton, who shares a D.C. apartment with her father, works for Broadnet.
In the letter, Scott Tipton said her use of his name in letters to other congressional offices didn’t constitute an ethics violation, but he said it was improper nonetheless.
Green said Tipton’s office has not heard from the committee about the letter.