Rep. Katie Hill (D-CA), a freshman Democrat critical to the House Democrats’ “impeachment inquiry” against President Donald Trump given her perch as vice chairwoman of the House Oversight Committee, is denying that she had an affair with two different staff members despite photographic and text message evidence of the affairs published by conservative website Red State.
“The fact is I am going through a divorce from an abusive husband who seems determined to try to humiliate me,” Hill told Politico on Tuesday, adding:
“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 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.”
Red State reported that Hill, along with her now estranged husband of many years, Kenny Heslep, brought a female campaign staffer into their relationship to create a three-way “throuple” in 2017 which lasted even after she was elected in 2018 and sworn in in 2019. The website published photographs of Hill with this female campaign staffer, thus far unidentified, including a photograph of a nude Hill brushing the female staffer’s hair. While this was going on, according to the Red State report, Hill allegedly had an ongoing separate affair with a male campaign staffer Graham Kelly–who became her congressional office legislative director.
Politico’s John Bresnahan and Heather Caygle summarized the allegations and Hill’s first response to them as such:
The allegations against Hill were first raised in the conservative publication RedState.org. That publication reported that Hill had an affair with her legislative director, Graham Kelly. The relationship was purportedly uncovered by Hill’s husband, Kenny Heslep. The couple is in the midst of an acrimonious divorce, and there is no proof that an improper relationship with Kelly — who also worked on Hill’s campaign — occurred.
Neither Kelly nor Heslep responded to requests for comment.
RedState also published a nude photo of Hill and alleged that she and Heslep were both romantically involved in a consensual relationship with a female campaign staffer in her 20s. Hill identifies as bisexual.
In her statement, Hill vehemently denied any improper relationship with Kelly. Hill said U.S. Capitol Police are now investigating where the nude photo came from and how it was published.
“Intimate photos of me and another individual were published by Republican operatives on the internet without my consent,” Hill said. “I have notified Capitol Hill police who are investigating the situation and potential legal violations of those who posted and distributed the photos, and therefore will have no further comment on the digital materials.”
“Allegations that I have been involved in a relationship with Mr. Kelly are absolutely false,” Hill continued. “I am saddened that the deeply personal matter of my divorce has been brought into public view and the vindictive claims of my ex have now involved the lives and reputations of unrelated parties.”
Politico’s Bresnahan and Caygle wrote that Hill is refusing to resign over the sex scandal rocking her office, and will try to stay in office.
They also quote her blaming a “smear campaign” for the matter.
“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,” Hill said.
The Politico piece also says that Hill reached out to Democrat leadership, including House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Majority Leader Steny Hoyer, to deny the allegations.
“The 32-year-old Hill has reached out to Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) and House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer (D-Md.) to deny the allegations, according to multiple Democratic sources,” Bresnahan and Caygle wrote.
Later in the piece, Bresnahan and Caygle quote anonymous “sources” close to the Democrat leaders to imply that Pelosi and her allies believe Hill’s denials despite text messages and photographs published by Red State that prove the relationship with the female staffer and text messages that strongly suggest the relationship with the male staffer Kelly.
“Sources close to Hill and Democratic leadership aides dismiss the Oct. 18 report in RedState as coming from GOP operatives in California seeking to hurt the freshman lawmaker politically,” Bresnahan and Caygle wrote.
But, Pelosi and others in Democrat leadership have notably chosen not to publicly stick up for Hill amid the burgeoning scandal, of which Red State has said it has more photographs and more evidence that it has not yet published.
After the tragic passing of Rep. Elijah Cummings (D-MD), the chairman of the Oversight Committee, Pelosi named Rep. Carolyn Maloney (D-NY) the interim acting chairwoman of the powerful committee at the center of the impeachment inquiry into Trump–meaning Hill reports, as vice chair of the committee, directly to Maloney.
As Breitbart News reported on Monday evening, Maloney has not answered a series of detailed questions about this scandal regarding Hill at this time. Those questions for Maloney, which her office has not answered, include:
1.) Does Rep. Maloney have any general comment on the revelation that Rep. Hill was having multiple affairs with several of her staff members?
2.) Does Rep. Maloney think it is acceptable for members of Congress to have sexual relationships with staff members?
3.) Since she is acting chairwoman of the Oversight Committee, does Rep. Maloney believe it is acceptable for Rep. Hill to continue to serve as vice chair of that committee?
4.) Does Rep. Maloney think the House Ethics Committee should investigate this matter?
5.) Does Rep. Maloney think these revelations distract from the broader work that the House Oversight Committee is doing, in particular on the “impeachment inquiry” into President Trump?
Pelosi’s Deputy Chief of Staff Drew Hammill has not replied to a similar set of questions sent from Breitbart News to the speaker’s office over the weekend and again on Monday–a sign the speaker is choosing to deliberately not publicly defend Hill amid the scandal, at least for now.
With her initial statement here to Politico, Hill finally seems to have answered at least a couple of the questions Breitbart News sent to her–specifically whether she denies the allegations and whether she has discussed them with the Democrat leadership including Pelosi. But there are several other questions that Breitbart News had sent to Hill on Monday that she still has not answered. Those questions include:
1.) Why does the congresswoman think it is appropriate for a member of Congress to have sexual relationships with staff members? Is she not concerned that said relationships may be inappropriate?
2.) I also see the congresswoman is the vice chair of the House Oversight Committee. Do these revelations–including the fact that according to Red State there are many more compromising photographs of the congresswoman, in other words literal “Kompromat”–threaten to undermine the congresswoman’s work and the Oversight Committee’s work on the “impeachment inquiry” into President Trump?
3.) On that note, the Red State story said they published this story out of concern that the congresswoman could be blackmailed or that this information could be used against her by bad actors. Does the congresswoman fear she may be blackmailed? Is there a national security risk to her engaging in these types of relationships? Has she ever been blackmailed?
4.) It is unclear if the House Ethics Committee will launch a formal probe of these revelations, but if they do–or if other official entities launch investigations on this matter–does the congresswoman intend to fully comply? Will she direct her staff, including the ones with whom she has had sexual relationships, to comply with any investigations as well?
It remains unclear if the House Ethics Committee will conduct a formal investigation into this matter, but it is plainly against House rules for members of Congress to have sexual relationships with staffers. “If Congresswoman Hill is engaged in a romantic relationship with one of her paid staffers, that is a clear cut ethics violation,” a senior congressional aide told Breitbart News on Monday. “These rules are in place to ensure Congress is a workplace free from abuse and sexual misconduct. The reports paint a troubling pattern that deserve a full investigation.”