This is not how Rep. Katie Hill (D-Calif.) would have envisioned her freshman year to pan out. Still, as the saying goes, “you do the crime, you do the time.” Using your position of power for sexual gratification is not acceptable.
After reports surfaced last week of allegations that Democrat Hill conducted an improper sexual relationship with her legislative director, Graham Kelly, the House Ethics Committee announced on Oct. 23 they are investigating the claims. Members of Congress are banned under rules implemented in 2018, from having sexual relations with a member of their staff. If Hill is proven to have violated the rules, the punishment would involve removing her from her position on the Oversight Committee.
“The committee is aware of public allegations that Representative Katie Hill may have engaged in a sexual relationship with an individual on her congressional staff, in violation of House Rule XXIII, clause 18(a),” the Committee said in a statement on Wednesday, Oct. 23. “The Committee, pursuant to Committee Rule 18(a), has begun an investigation and will gather additional information regarding the allegations.”
“The Committee notes that the mere fact that it is investigating these allegations, and publicly disclosing its review, does not itself indicate that any violation has occurred, or reflect any judgment on behalf of the Committee,” it added.
Hill has denied the accusation, although she does admit to having an affair with a female campaign staffer. “I know that even a consensual relationship with a subordinate is inappropriate, but I still allowed it to happen despite my better judgment,” Hill said in a letter, according to the Los Angeles Times.
Conservative news site Deputy Managing Editor Jen Van Laar Red State broke the story last week, and photos and text messages provided by the news site indeed indicate Hill was involved in a sexual liaison with a female staffer.
According to Red State, the staffer engaged in a “throuple” relationship with Hill and her estranged husband, Kenny Heslep, who filed for divorce in July. The trio had many vacations together, as some of the photos indicate, one was a nude photo of the two women. Other intimate pictures of the women, Red State chose not to publish.
“Intimate photos of me and another individual were published by Republican operatives on the internet without my consent,” the lawmaker told The Hill on Tuesday, referring to the materials as a “smear campaign.”
“I am beyond grateful for the work the Ethics Committee does to ensure transparency in Congress. I welcome this investigation and will be cooperating fully to clear this matter up,” Hill said in a statement.