Scott Tipton apologizes for daughter's improper e-mails as spokesman goes after Nancy Pelosi

Shortly after winning praise for getting the ban on the military expansion of Pinon Canyon restored, Representative Scott Tipton faces potential embarrassment over letters sent by his daughter, Elizabeth, in which she dropped daddy's name to seek business for the family-connected telecommunications firm where she works. But even as Tipton has apologized on her behalf, his spokesman is pointing fingers at House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi and Minority Whip Steny Hoyer for starting the rumors in the first place.

The story, as told by Politico's Marin Cogan, goes like this...

Elizabeth Tipton works for Broadnet, a tele-townhall services firm co-founded by Steve Patterson, Scott Tipton's nephew. She tried to drum up business via e-mails that preceded a pitch with the statement, "I am Congressman Tipton's daughter..."

Neither Tipton's office nor legal experts contacted by Politico regard Elizabeth's actions as a specific violation of the House of Representative's ethics rules -- but the latter do describe it as "unseemly." Hence, Tipton's letter to the House ethics committee, in which he writes, "I believe [the e-mails] 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."

Meanwhile, Tipton spokesman Josh Green offered this statement on the matter: "Nancy Pelosi sent her top lap-dog to Colorado last week to fire-up the rumor mill with this cheap Washington political attack on a 22-year-old girl. They are stooping to sleazy political attacks on Scott Tipton's daughter rather than engaging on the issues facing the American people."

Said lap-dog was Hoyer, who "was in Colorado last week showing support for a number of people who could be running for the third congressional district," Green added. "Right after his visit, we started to hear the rumors tick up. That's just kind of a coincidence."

It's also hooey, according to Hoyer's office -- and the folks at Colorado Pols think these attempts at distraction suggest greater problems:

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.

Wishful thinking? Or a chink in Tipton's armor?

More from our Politics archive: "Scott McInnis plagiarism scandal no big deal to attorney disclipline czar."

KEEP WESTWORD FREE... Since we started Westword, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Denver, and we'd like to keep it that way. With local media under siege, it's more important than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" program, allowing us to keep offering readers access to our incisive coverage of local news, food and culture with no paywalls.
Michael Roberts has written for Westword since October 1990, serving stints as music editor and media columnist. He currently covers everything from breaking news and politics to sports and stories that defy categorization.
Contact: Michael Roberts