Red State on Friday published a photo that appears to show Rep. Katie Hill, a freshman Democratic congresswoman from California, brushing the hair of a young aide while completely unclothed.
Jennifer Van Laar reported for the conservative blog that Hill engaged in a long-term sexual relationship with the unnamed woman, who was said to be a member of her campaign staff. The report cited “multiple confidential sources” and was bolstered by a number of other salacious photos of the two women along with screen shots of text-message exchanges between them.
Van Laar found that Hill, 32, who is openly bisexual, and her now-estranged husband, Kenny Heslep, were both involved in the relationship with the 22-year-old aide. The three-way couple took multiple vacations together, according to the report.
“The woman, whose name is not being released, was hired by Hill in late 2017 and quickly became involved in a “throuple” relationship with Hill and her estranged husband, Kenny Heslep,” Van Laar said.
Hill earlier this year broke off the relationship with the aide, Van Laar reported. In August, Heslep said in a since-deleted Facebook post that Hill had also been having sex for at least a year with Graham Kelly, who was her finance director at the time and is now her legislative director.
The ethics and politics of the Katie Hill photo
Last February, after #MeToo allegations reached the halls of Congress, the House voted to update its rules to bar lawmakers from having sexual relationships with staff members.
Although Republicans were in the majority at the time, Democrats rode the wave of female empowerment to a House majority in 2018. Hill was part of the biggest-ever class of women lawmakers to be elected, winning a “toss-up” district that was previously represented by a Republican.
However, on Monday, Breitbart News reported that representatives of several members of the House Ethics Committee declined to comment on the apparent rules violation by Hill. Speaker Nancy Pelosi, a California Democrat, did not respond to multiple requests for comment.
According to reporter Matthew Boyle, other Democrats and Republicans anonymously said that House Speaker Nancy Pelosi was obligated to act and “that her silence speaks volumes as of now.”
By his estimation, the stakes of the scandal are high. He noted Hill is the vice chairwoman of the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform, which is one of six committees that Pelosi has tapped to conduct an impeachment inquiry into President Donald Trump.
Boyle said that Hill’s alleged sexual behavior could make her an “easy blackmail target.”