All of Jennifer Van Laar’s reporting on Katie Hill is listed at the bottom of this article.
Freshman Rep. Katie Hill (D-CA), Vice Chair of the House Committee on Oversight and Reform, shared with Elle in a June 2019 interview a quote from the late Rep. Elijah Cummings, Chairman of the Committee “that has stuck with her.”
In one of those first meetings, Hill says, Cummings said something that has stuck with her. “It [was] that our role on Oversight is to get to the truth and to follow the truth wherever it leads us and to expose that for the American people,” Hill tells me over the phone. “To make sure that they have the information that they should have to, frankly, evaluate their government.”
It is in that spirit that we are sharing information obtained from multiple confidential sources relating to Rep. Hill, who’s currently in divorce proceedings. It is this writer’s view that events that occur within a marriage or affairs that lead to its demise should be kept between the parties involved and are not the business of the general public. When those events or affairs occur within one of the parties’ workplace, though, and that workplace is the United States Congress, the public should know about them as they determine that elected official’s fitness to serve.
Photographs and text messages obtained by RedState show that Rep. Hill was involved in a long-term sexual relationship with a female campaign staffer. The woman, whose name is not being released, was hired by Hill in late 2017 and quickly became involved in a “throuple” relationship with Hill and her estranged husband, Kenny Heslep.
Heslep and the staffer, according to text messages provided to RedState, believed the polyamorous arrangement to be a long-term, committed relationship. The trio took multiple vacations together, including to Alaska, where this photograph was taken.
Click to view image — Warning: Explicit Image
RedState was also provided with intimate photographs of the women, which we have chosen not to publish.
According to a source close to the staffer, the throuple agreed to continue their committed relationship when Hill moved to Washington, D.C. on January 2019, but that Heslep and the staffer quickly noticed a difference in Hill’s demeanor. By late May, Hill broke off her relationships with both Heslep and the staffer, claiming she wanted to focus on “this important work” and that it wasn’t fair to be involved in a relationship. The staffer, as these text messages show, was distraught and trying to figure out how to move on with her life.
In this message, Hill references their continuing work relationship and that she “want[s] it to be as ok as possible.”
The staffer asks if the political risk led Rep. Hill to end the relationship.
To which Hill replied:
No. I mean I guess maybe partially. Honestly, though, it’s that I want to be alone.
I don’t want to be accountable to anyone else. I want to be entirely focused on this work that I think is so important
And that’s not fair to anyone as a partner.
According to the text messages reviewed, after Hill left the throuple Heslep was told “by numerous sources” that Hill had been involved in a sexual relationship for a year with her then-finance director, now Legislative Director, Graham Kelly.
In a post on his now-deleted Facebook account, Heslep posted a screenshot of a text message between himself and a friend of the couple in which the friend admits that he now knows about the Hill/Kelly affair.
Heslep asked the friend:
I’m just going to ask you this plainly bc I respect you. Did you know about Graham and Katie?
I do know, yes, but I didn’t know until recently.
After Heslep found out about the alleged affair between Hill and Kelly, he filed for divorce.
“I didn’t file for divorce because she was bi! I just didn’t know she opened our relationship.”
A review of FEC records for Hill’s 2018 and 2020 campaigns reveals that the staffer was first paid in November 2017, with her payment classified as “salary,” making her an employee. California law doesn’t expressly prohibit consensual sexual relationships between an employer and a direct report, but it’s certainly a murky legal and ethical area. Some legal pundits contend that an employee can’t truly consent to a sexual relationship with the person who signs their paycheck.
Also of concern in the alleged throuple relationship is the age differential between Hill, Heslep, and the staffer. The staffer was 22 and a new college graduate when the relationship started; Hill and Heslep were in their 30s.
In addition to the legal and ethical issues raised by allegations of a congresswoman having not one, but two extramarital affairs with people on her staff, concurrently, there are issues of national security. Hill serves on two influential committees in that regard: Oversight and Reform and Armed Service. She has access to extremely sensitive national security information. If people who don’t have our nation’s best interests at heart had access to the photographs, text messages, and other information provided to RedState, Rep. Hill would be an easy blackmail target.
Hill’s office did not respond to a request for comment.
READ JENNIFER VAN LAAR’S FULL COVERAGE OF THIS STORY: