Rep. Katie Hill admits to relationship with campaign staffer amid ethics probe

Rep. Katie HillKatherine (Katie) Lauren HillKatie Hill pens op-ed about Congress resignation, toxic marriage, mental health and resilience Young Turks founder: Past remarks on women were attempt 'to be a stupid, politically incorrect Republican' Feinstein endorses Christy Smith for Katie Hill's former House seat MORE (D-Calif.) late Wednesday admitted to an “inappropriate” relationship with a campaign aide as she faces a House investigation over allegations of being romantically involved with a congressional staffer. 

Hill said in a letter to constituents that she hopes she can “put to rest some of the gossip, innuendo and lies,” adding that she engaged in the relationship with a campaign aide “despite my better judgement.”

“During the final tumultuous years of my abusive marriage, I became involved in a relationship with someone on my campaign,” she wrote. “I know that even a consensual relationship with a subordinate is inappropriate, but I still allowed it to happen against my better judgement. For that I apologize.” 

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The conservative website RedState first 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 by RedState. 

“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 wrote. “I have notified Capitol Police, who are investigating it, and therefore will have no further comment on the matter.”

Her letter came hours after the House Ethics Committee announced it was launching an investigation into allegations that Hill violated chamber rules by engaging in a sexual relationship with a staffer in her congressional office.

Hill, a freshman who flipped a GOP-held district last year, has denied any relationship with Graham Kelly, her legislative director, and said in a statement to The Hill Tuesday that 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.

“Allegations that I have been involved in a relationship with Mr. Kelly are absolutely false,” Hill added. “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 was the first to allege that Hill was involved with Kelly, citing text messages involving Hill's estranged husband.

Hill said Wednesday 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.