Colo. Rep. Tipton Facing Second Ethics Issue

Both Issues Involve Nephew's Company, Broadnet

U.S. Rep. Scott Tipton may have violated ethics rules after he spent more than $7,000 from his House office account on vendors that contract with his nephew's company, according to The Associated Press.

Members of Congress are forbidden from hiring family members, including nieces and nephews. But the rules are less clear on contract work, according to the Denver Post.

Invoices show that the congressman paid more than $7,000 to iConstituent and Constituent Services for newsletters and an April telephone town hall.

Both companies are vendors of Colorado-based Broadnet, which is owned by Tipton's nephew, Steve Patterson.

Tipton spokesman Josh Green said the office used iConstituent because it was used by his predecessor, Democratic Rep. John Salazar.

Last month, Tipton sent a letter to the House Ethics Committee regarding "improper" e-mails his daughter sent using Tipton's name to solicit business for Broadnet, the company where she works, according to Politico.

The website reported that Elizabeth Tipton had been contacting congressional offices and introducing herself as the congressman’s daughter, to arrange appointments for Broadnet.

In a letter drafted to the Ethics Committee, Tipton said, "In the course of Elizabeth’s duties she mentioned to several House offices that she is my daughter. This reference was made casually in introductory emails purely as a point of reference to both Republican and Democratic offices."

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," according to Politico.

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