The House Ethics Committee on Wednesday announced its intent to investigate freshman Congresswoman Katie Hill (D-CA) for having an extra-marital affair with a congressional staffer. The announcement was made after intimate photos of Hill were posted online without her consent.
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, 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. No other public comment will be made on this matter except in accordance with Committee rules.
Two weeks ago, our friends at RedState broke news that Hill was allegedly having an affair with her Legislative Director, Graham Kelly, and a throuple relationship with a female campaign staffer, whose name has yet to be released.
Hill has repeatedly said she’s going through a divorce from her abusive husband but text messages show Hill, her husband, Kenny Heslep, and the female staffer had an ongoing relationship. The husband admits in text messages to the campaign staffer that he and Hill abused her.
According to RedState, this is the letter Hill sent out to constituents (emphasis mine):
To my family, friends, supporters and members of my community,
It pains me deeply that I have to send you this note at all, but I want you to hear from me so that I can hopefully put to rest some of the gossip, innuendo and lies that have been told in recent days.
During the final tumultuous years of my abusive marriage, I became involved in a relationship with someone on my campaign. I know that even a consensual relationship with a subordinate is inappropriate, but I still allowed it to happen despite my better judgment. For that I apologize. I wish nothing but the best for her and hope everyone respects her privacy in this difficult time.
But the truth is, distributing intimate photos with the intent to publish them is a crime, and the perpetrator should be punished to the full extent of the law. I have notified Capitol Police, who are investigating it, and therefore will have no further comment on the matter.
I am going through a divorce from an abusive husband who seems determined to try to humiliate me. I am disgusted that my opponents would seek to exploit such a private matter for political gain. This coordinated effort to try to destroy me and the people close to me is despicable and will not succeed. I, like many women who have faced attacks like this before, am stronger than those who want me to be afraid.
I am saddened that the deeply personal matter of my divorce has been brought into public view, even the false allegations of a relationship with my congressional staffer, which I have publicly denied, and I am fully and proactively cooperating with the Ethics Committee.
This smear campaign will not get in the way of the work I am doing every day to move our district and our country forward. I am truly grateful for the outpouring of support I have received from colleagues and constituents alike, and I know we will get through this together.
There is important work to do on behalf of our district and I promise to keep working as hard as I can to fight for the ideals that I committed to from day one. Out of respect for the law enforcement and the Ethics Committee, I will not have more to say on this subject until their work is concluded.
House Rule XXIII, clause 18(a) clearly states a member of Congress cannot engage in a sexual relationship with an employee:
18. (a) A Member, Delegate, or Resident Commissioner may not engage in a sexual relationship with any employee of the House who works under the supervision of the Member, Delegate, or Resident Commissioner, or who is an employee of a committee on which the Member, Delegate, or Resident Commissioner serves. This paragraph does not apply with respect to any relationship between two people who are married to each other.
Hill can make this out to be a smear tactic but really, she’s upset that she got caught doing something that she’s not supposed to. This has nothing to do with her politics or her being a woman. This has everything to do with her breaking a very simple, easy-to-understand rule.
Author: Beth Baumann