Democratic lawmakers call on Judiciary Committee to advance 'revenge porn' law

Democratic lawmakers call on Judiciary Committee to advance 'revenge porn' law
© Greg Nash

A group of 35 Democratic lawmakers sent a letter Friday to leading members of the House Judiciary Committee urging them to move forward with legislation on "revenge porn" following Rep. Katie HillKatherine (Katie) Lauren HillVeronica Escobar to give Spanish-language response to Trump State of the Union address California Democrat Christy Smith launches first TV ad in bid for Katie Hill's former House seat Cenk Uygur updates on Congressional campaign, how I will call out corporate politicians in Washington MORE's resignation.

The California Democrat left Congress this week after nude photos and allegations that she had inappropriate sexual relationships with congressional and campaign staffers surfaced online.


Forty-six states and the District of Columbia have passed legislation banning the publishing of intimate or explicit image of persons without their consent, called revenge porn or nonconsensual pornography (NCP), but it is not explicitly covered by a federal statute.

The group of lawmakers, led by Rep. Tom MalinowskiThomas (Tom) MalinowskiSanders, Warren battle for progressive endorsements NJ lawmaker flips endorsement to Biden after Booker drops out House votes to temporarily repeal Trump SALT deduction cap MORE (D-N.J.), on Friday called on House Judiciary Chairman Jerrold NadlerJerrold (Jerry) Lewis NadlerNadler calls Trump a 'dictator' on Senate floor Poll: Majority think Senate should call witnesses in Trump impeachment trial Susan Collins asked Justice Roberts to intervene after Nadler late-night 'cover-up' accusation MORE (D-N.Y.) and subcommittee on Crime, Terrorism and Homeland Security Chairwoman Karen BassKaren Ruth BassOmar calls on US to investigate Turkey over possible war crimes in Syria McConnell takes heat from all sides on impeachment Sunday Talk Shows: Lawmakers look ahead to House vote on articles of impeachment, Senate trial MORE (D-Calif.) to advance legislation to address that gap.

The Stopping Harmful Image Exploitation and Limiting Distribution (SHIELD) Act, introduced this May, would establish federal criminal liability for individuals who share private, sexually explicit or nude images without the consent of those photographed. It has yet to advance out of the subcommittee that Bass oversees.

"[T]he definition of NCP and the penalties associated with this violation varies significantly from state to state. Many of them include unnecessary and confusing requirements that allow many forms of NCP to go unpunished," the lawmakers wrote.

"In addition, the distribution of NCP through the internet presents jurisdictional challenges. Clear and concise federal regulation can complement and coordinate local efforts to stamp out NCP. A unified federal statute is long overdue."

The letter, which also counts Reps. Pramila JayapalPramila JayapalSanders says it's 'disappointing' he's not on campaign trail in Iowa Sanders announces Iowa campaign swing with AOC, Michael Moore Lawmakers introduce bill to reform controversial surveillance authorities MORE (D-Wash.) and Madeleine DeanMadeleine DeanThe Hill's Morning Report — Sponsored by AdvaMed — House panel delays impeachment vote until Friday Judiciary Committee abruptly postpones vote on articles of impeachment Impeachment inquiry enters critical new phase MORE (D-Pa.), a subcommittee member, among its authors, focuses on Hill's resignation to justify the push for fast-tracking federal legislation on revenge porn.

Conservative news site and British tabloid The Daily Mail last month published nude photos of Hill without her permission along with the allegations of improper conduct with staffers.

Hill denied the alleged relationship with her legislative director, which would violate House rules, but admitted that she and her husband had a consensual relationship with a member of her campaign.

In terms of the photos, she accused her “abusive husband,” whom she is in the process of divorcing, of engaging in a “smear campaign built around cyber exploitation."

The SHIELD Act, introduced by Reps. Jackie SpeierKaren (Jackie) Lorraine Jacqueline SpeierSenator-jurors who may not be impartial? Remove them for cause Poll: 69 percent of Americans say they are watching impeachment closely The Hill's Morning Report — Impeachment face-off; Dems go after Buttigieg in debate MORE (D-Calif.) and John KatkoJohn Michael KatkoDCCC to run ads tying 11 House Republicans to Trump remarks on entitlements Bezos phone breach escalates fears over Saudi hacking House Democrats request briefings on Iranian cyber threats from DHS, FCC MORE (R-N.Y.), currently has 36 co-sponsors, including four Republicans.