LOS ANGELES (CBSLA) — Freshman Democratic Rep. Katie Hill (D-Santa Clarita) on Tuesday denied allegations that she was having an inappropriate relationship with one of her staffers and also said intimate photos of her were posted online without her consent.
The Simi Valley congresswoman was put into the spotlight during the 2018 midterm elections when she beat Republican incumbent Steve Knight, but she’s now facing a challenge of a different kind.
A conservative blog claimed Hill was in a sexual relationship with her legislative director — which is not allowed under House ethic rules — but there was no evidence of the alleged relationship, and Hill said the charges against her were false and politically motivated.
“I think that this is not a coincidence that we are seeing these allegations from a conservative website,” Jessica Levinson, a political expert, said. “As we start to get closer to elections we are going to see more of this.”
The website also posted photos of the congresswoman and another woman, claiming that the two were in a three-way relationship with Hill’s husband. The picture reportedly involved a campaign staff member, not a congressional staff member.
Hill called for an investigation into how the photos were made public, and now the U.S. Capitol Police are said to be investigating.
The allegations come at a busy time for the congresswoman who is vice chair of the powerful House Oversight Committee, one of the committees that is front and center in the Trump impeachment probe.
“She’s a person highly visible for a number of reasons,” Levinson said. “First (she’s an) openly bisexual representative. She’s in this very important position in the House Oversight Committee when the House is overseeing an impeachment inquiry. Nancy Pelosi has essentially tapped her on the shoulder and said, ‘You’re a rising star in the party.'”
Hill released a statement Tuesday that read in part:
“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.”
As for constituents, a number of people in her district said since no wrongdoing had been proven, they were not paying attention to the allegations.
“It’s a personal matter, and if it doesn’t have to do anything to do with me or her job, I don’t think it’s a big deal,” one man said.
“The more we dig into politics with people and their personal lives is something I try to stay out of,” another man said.
Hill is up for reelection next year, and her team said she has raised more than $2.1 million for the 2020 campaign.