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What Do You Get Your Politician Dad for Father's Day? A Scandal

National Journal

Father's Day is just around the corner. Maybe you'll get a tie! Or, maybe you'll get two ties! But for some politicians, gifts from your child are not always so great.

Sen. Jeff Flake is just the most recent example of a politician whose son has gotten him into some trouble. The senator's son Tanner, who is in high school, got busted making gay, racist, and anti-Semitic comments on Twitter and YouTube by BuzzFeed this week. Sen. Flake issued a strong apology on behalf of both himself and his son immediately after the comments came out.

Sen. Flake is not alone in having some sore points to brood over this Father's Day. Here are some other politicians whose kids have said or done the darnedest, most offensive things.

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Rep. Scott Tipton, R-Colo.

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Almost exactly two years ago, Tipton apologized to the House Ethics Committee after his daughter tried using his name to generate sales for her employer. Then-22-year-old Elizabeth Tipton was working for Broadnet, a teleconference provider that serves lawmakers and is owned by Rep. Tipton's nephew. She mentioned her dad in e-mails to lawmakers.

"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," Tipton said in his letter to the heads of the Ethics Committee.

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Rahm Emanuel's Dad

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Chicago Mayor Rahm Emmanuel speaks to delegates at the Democratic National Convention in Charlotte, N.C. (Ralf-Finn Hestoft)

In a bit of a reverse son-on-dad scandal, Rahm Emanuel was forced to apologize on behalf of his father Benjamin soon after Rahm had been picked to be Barack Obama's chief of staff. The elder Emanuel had told an Israeli newspaper that his son would "influence the president to be pro-Israel. Why wouldn't he? What is he, an Arab?"

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Former Wisconsin Gov. Tommy Thompson

 

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(AP Photo/Jim Cole)

Thompson had to take a short break in October from his ultimately unsuccessful Senate run to address his son's suggestion that voters "have the opportunity to send President Obama back to Chicago—or Kenya." Thompson said his son was repeating what someone else in attendance had said and that his son felt awful about the remark. "Talked to my son he feels terrible about it and nobody is suffering more than he is about this, and he has apologized. That is all I am going to say about it," Thompson said.

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Senate Candidate Bob Schaffer

When Schaffer, who was previously in the House, was running for Colorado's Senate seat in 2008, his son Justin's Facebook page became something of a big story. The page was full of racially charged images, including one with a picture of the pyramids in Egypt that read "Slavery Gets Shit Done" and other pictures of Barack Obama as a Muslim. The Senate candidate's apology was rather bold: "My wife and I have initiated a process of firm and severe discipline with our son."

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Rep. Jim Moran, D-Va.

Putting your foot in your mouth is one thing. Possible voter fraud is another altogether. Patrick Moran abruptly resigned from his father's campaign just days before the 2012 election amid allegations that the younger Moran was planning to perpetrate voter fraud. The Hillexplains:

[T]he younger Moran had weighed options for helping an undercover operative cast votes on behalf of 100 people who allegedly weren't planning to vote.

'There will be a lot of voter protection, so, if they just have, you know, the utility bill or bank statement — bank statement would obviously be tough ... but faking a utility bill would be easy enough,' Moran says, apparently referring to options for getting around Virginia's voter ID laws.

Ultimately, he wasn't charged.

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Mitt Romney

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(AP Photo/Charlie Neibergall)

It may not have been as jaw-dropping as what some other children have said, but the then-presidential candidate's son Tagg got himself a bit too much attention when he said that he wanted to "take a swing" at President Obama following the second presidential debate in 2012. Tagg later apologized.

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Sen. Mary Landrieu, D-La

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(Liz Lynch)

It's not always fathers who get the tough breaks. In the (likely) most recent example of a child giving his or her politician parent a hard time, Sen. Landrieu's 21-year-old son was arrested Thursday for driving under the influence and a hit-and-run. The senator quickly came out to express her disappointment.

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