Freshman Rep. Katie Hill (D-Calif.) was allegedly engaged in a three-way relationship, otherwise known as a "throuple," with her husband and a 22-year-old female campaign staffer, conservative blog RedState reported Friday.
Text messages and even an explicit photograph showing a completely naked Hill brushing the hair of a person believed to be that staffer were among the evidence that RedState reported.
Because of Hill's position on two prominent congressional committees — the House Oversight Committee and the House Armed Services Committee — one would think the story would evolve into a full-scale scandal considering the legal and ethical implications of a congresswoman sleeping with members of her staff. Not only the legal implications, but the possibility that a lawmaker with access to highly sensitive national security details, potentially opened herself to blackmail.
However, you probably have not heard about the story because the mainstream media have not given the story one iota of attention. Indeed, the media's biggest outlets — including the New York Times, Washington Post, CNN, NBC News, ABC News, and CBS News — have not yet covered the story.
It is not clear why the media has been deafly silent on this story. There are, however, two facts about Hill that could shed light on the deafening silence. First, Hill is a Democrat. Second, Hill is a member of the LGBT community and is the first openly bisexual person to be elected to Congress.
What's the background?
According to RedState, Hill began an alleged long-term sexual relationship with the staffer after the young woman joined her campaign in late 2017. Thus the "throuple" — between Hill, the staffer, and Hill's husband, Kenny Heslep — was allegedly formed.
The alleged "polyamorous" relationship was long term and committed, according to RedState. The "throuple" even went on vacations together, including one to Alaska. RedState published photos of Hill and the staffer from that trip.
But the alleged relationship turned sour when Hill moved to Washington, D.C., in January after being elected to Congress. RedState reported, citing its sources, that Heslep and the staffer both noticed considerable changes in Hill's behavior. Text messages obtained by RedState showed that Hill broke off her relationships in May, citing political risk.
Afterward, Heslep learned that Hill was allegedly engaged in another extramarital affair with Graham Kelly, her legislative director. House ethics rules prevent sexual relationships between lawmakers and their staff.
Heslep filed for divorce after learning about the alleged relationship between Hill and Kelly, RedState reported.
What does Hill say?
Hill responded to the controversy Tuesday afternoon in a Politico story that framed the allegations as a right-wing smear attack.
Hill blamed the controversy on Heslep, who she accused of being an "abusive husband."
"The fact is I am going through a divorce from an abusive husband who seems determined to try to humiliate me," she 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."
In her statement, Hill denied allegations that she was involved in an intimate relationship with Kelly.
"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," she said.
However, Hill did not deny her relationship with the young female staffer.
U.S. Capitol Police are also investigation how nude photos of her were leaked and published, Hill said.
"Intimate photos of me and another individual were published by Republican operatives on the internet without my consent," she said in her 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."
Hill said she has denied allegations of wrongdoing directly to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) and House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer (D-Md.).