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Rep. Katie Hill under investigation after allegations of inappropriate relationship with congressional aide

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Rep. Katie Hill (D-Santa Clarita).
(Gary Coronado / Los Angeles Times)

Rep. Katie Hill (D-Santa Clarita) is under investigation by the House Ethics Committee after allegations that she engaged in an affair with a congressional aide were made public last week.

In a statement, committee Chairman Rep. Ted Deutch (D-Fla.) and ranking member Rep. Kenny Marchant (R-Texas) said the committee was aware that Hill “may have engaged in a sexual relationship with an individual on her congressional staff,” an allegation Hill has denied. House rules were changed last year to prohibit such relationships between members and their employees.

In a letter to constituents Wednesday, Hill again denied the alleged relationship with a House staffer, but acknowledged she was involved in a separate relationship with a member of her campaign staff “during the final tumultuous years of my abusive marriage.”

“I know that even a consensual relationship with a subordinate is inappropriate, but I still allowed it to happen despite my better judgment,” the letter read.

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Over the weekend, the conservative website RedState published a series of articles alleging that Hill had engaged in relationships with a member of her campaign staff and a House staffer.

On Tuesday, Hill denied having a relationship with the House staff member and said she had contacted U.S. Capitol Police after intimate photos of her and another person had been published by the website. The statement Tuesday made no mention of the alleged relationship with her campaign staffer.

Hill, who is in divorce proceedings with her husband of nine years, Kenneth Heslep, claimed Heslep “seems determined to try to humiliate me.”

“The truth is, distributing intimate photos with the intent to publish them is a crime, and the perpetrator should be punished to the full extent of the law,” Hill said in the letter Wednesday.

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She added that she is cooperating with the House Ethics Committee and Capitol Police.

Hill said she would not comment further on the matter until both had completed their work.

Hill is one of seven California Democrats who helped flip Republican-held congressional seats and secure the House majority for Democrats. She is a member of House leadership and, as vice chair of the Committee on Oversight and Reform, is among the most powerful House freshmen. She has also received special attention from House Speaker Nancy Pelosi.


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