The House Committee on Ethics has launched an investigation into allegations brought against freshman Democratic Rep. Katie Hill (Calif.), who is accused of having an extramarital affair with one of her congressional aides.
What are the details?
Committee Chairman Ted Deutch (D-Fla.) and ranking member Kenny Marchant (R-Texas) issued a statement Wednesday, saying, in part:
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 XXII, clause 18(a). The Committee, pursuant to Committee Rule 18(a), has begun an investigation and will gather additional information regarding the allegations.
Nearly two weeks ago, conservative site RedState broke a story alleging that Hill had a sexual relationship with her legislative director, Graham Kelly. The outlet also exposed that Hill and her husband — who she is in the process of divorcing — engaged in a long-term polyamorous "throuple relationship" with an unnamed female staffer on Hill's campaign.
The allegations remained largely quiet for days as several mainstream media outlets refused to report on the accusations against the Democratic congresswoman. But in an email to supporters on Wednesday — also obtained by RedState — Hill admitted to having a "consensual relationship" with a female campaign aide.
"During the final tumultuous years of my abusive marriage, I became involved in a relationship with someone on my campaign," Hill wrote. "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."
The representative has repeatedly denied having an affair with her legislative director because such a relationship would be a violation of House rules. RedState has published text messages between Hill's estranged husband, Kenny Helsep, and a videographer for the congresswoman's campaign, showing an exchange that appears to contradict Hill's denials.
The Los Angeles Times reported that Hill "is among the most powerful House freshmen." The congresswoman is a freshman Co-Representative to Leadership, and serves as vice chair on the Oversight and Reform Committee.