House Ethics Committee to investigate Katie Hill allegations

The House Ethics Committee announced Wednesday it has launched an investigation into allegations that freshman Rep. Katie HillKatherine (Katie) Lauren HillKamala Harris endorses Christy Smith in bid to fill Katie Hill's seat California governor sets special election to replace Katie Hill Katie Hill writes to former House colleagues about Calif. shooting: 'Speak up for our community' MORE (D-Calif.) violated chamber rules by engaging in a sexual relationship with a staffer in her office.

"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 XXIII, clause 18 (a)," Rep. Ted DeutchTheodore (Ted) Eliot DeutchEthics sends memo to lawmakers on SCIF etiquette Pelosi signs bill making animal cruelty a federal crime Ethics panel extends probe into Tlaib MORE (D-Fla.), the committee's chairman, and Rep. Kenny MarchantKenny Ewell MarchantEthics sends memo to lawmakers on SCIF etiquette Ethics panel investigating Rep. Hastings over relationship with staffer GOP Rep. Gaetz calls for ethics investigation into Schiff MORE (Texas), the top Republican on the panel, said in a statement.

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"The Committee notes that the mere fact that it is investigating these allegations, and publicly disclosing its review, does not itself indicate that any violation has occurred, or reflect any judgment on behalf of the Committee," they added.
 
Hill, a freshman who flipped a GOP-held district last year, said in a statement on Wednesday that she would fully cooperate with the Ethics Committee investigation.

“I am beyond grateful for the work the Ethics Committee does to ensure transparency in Congress. I welcome this investigation and will be cooperating fully to clear this matter up,” Hill said in a statement.
 
Hill has denied the allegations regarding the staffer. She said the accusations are coming from her divorce from “an abusive husband.”

“The fact is I am going through a divorce from an abusive husband who seems determined to try to humiliate me. I am disgusted that my opponents would seek to exploit such a private matter for political gain,” she said in a statement to The Hill on Tuesday.

"This coordinated effort to try to destroy me and people close to me is despicable and will not succeed," she added. "I, like many women who have faced attacks like this before, am stronger than those who want me to be afraid."

In a Wednesday letter to constituents Hill admitted to an affair with a campaign staffer, but again denied having an affair with a congressional staffer. 
 
“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, according to the Los Angeles Times

Hill’s office didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment on Wednesday after the Ethics Committee’s announcement.

Hill was allegedly involved in a sexual relationship with a staff member, according to an article published last week in the conservative RedState, citing text messages involving Hill's husband, Kenny Heslep.

An unidentified friend told Heslep in the text messages about an alleged relationship between Hill and Graham Kelly, her legislative director.

“Allegations that I have been involved in a relationship with Mr. Kelly are absolutely false,” Hill said Tuesday. “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.”

RedState also published a nude photo of Hill, who identifies as bisexual, with an individual the publication described as a female campaign staffer. Hill has since said the U.S. Capitol Police are investigating how the photo was obtained and published by RedState.

“Intimate photos of me and another individual were published by Republican operatives on the internet without my consent,” Hill said.

Hill, who has been considered a rising star in the party, serves as vice chairwoman of the House Oversight and Reform Committee.

Updated at 7:23 p.m.