Top-ranking freshman Rep. Katie Hill, D-Calif., is denying allegations that she had an improper relationship with a congressional staffer, and Democratic leadership is reportedly dismissing the allegations as Hill accuses her “abusive husband” of starting the controversy amidst divorce proceedings.
“The fact is I am going through a divorce from an abusive husband who seems determined to try to humiliate me,” Hill told Politico.
“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,” she said. “I, like many women who have faced attacks like this before, am stronger than those who want me to be afraid.”
A report from RedState alleged that Hill had an affair with her legislative director, Graham Kelly. Text messages from her estranged husband, Kenny Heslep, made the accusation that Hill was sleeping with Kelly, accusations that she told Democratic leadership were not true.
The RedState report also contained photographic evidence, including a nude photo, that Hill, 32, was engaged in a long-term relationship with a female campaign staffer ten years her junior. As BlazeTV congressional correspondent Nate Madden noted in his Capitol Hill Brief newsletter, “This is the kind of employer-employee relationship power dynamic that so many people criticized when the #MeToo movement started to make headlines two years ago.”
According to Politico, Democratic leadership is dismissing RedState’s story as “coming from GOP operatives in California seeking to hurt the freshman lawmaker politically,” and Capitol Hill police are investigating where the intimate photo came from.
“Intimate photos of me and another individual were published by Republican operatives on the internet without my consent,” Hill said in a statement. “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. 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.”
Hill is the vice chair of the House Oversight Committee. She does not intend to resign from Congress or step down from committee leadership and accused Republicans of running a “smear campaign” against her.
“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.”
Chris Pandolfo is a staff writer and type-shouter for Conservative Review. He holds a B.A. in politics and economics from Hillsdale College. His interests are conservative political philosophy, the American founding, and progressive rock. Follow him on Twitter for doom-saying and great album recommendations @ChrisCPandolfo.
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