House Ethics opens investigation into Rep. Katie Hill over alleged staffer relationship

California freshman Democrat admits and apologizes to constituents for relationship with campaign staffer

Rep. Katie Hill, D-Calif., is at the center of an ethics investigation into an alleged improper relationship with the man who is her legislative director. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)
Rep. Katie Hill, D-Calif., is at the center of an ethics investigation into an alleged improper relationship with the man who is her legislative director. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)
Posted October 23, 2019 at 6:51pm

The House Ethics Committee has opened an investigation into Rep. Katie Hill regarding allegations that she may have had a sexual relationship with a member of her staff.

The committee will gather additional information regarding the allegations, the committee said in a statement.

[Democratic Rep. Katie Hill denies relationship with congressional staffer]

Hill denied allegations Tuesday she had an improper relationship with the man who is her legislative director. The California Democrat said in a statement that her estranged husband is attempting to humiliate her and suggested there is a “coordinated effort” to destroy her.

Hill sent a letter to her constituents Wednesday night admitting to a relationship “despite my better judgment” with a campaign staffer and apologized.

“I am saddened that the deeply personal matter of my divorce has been brought into public view, even the false allegations of a relationship with my congressional staffer, which I have publicly denied, and I am fully and proactively cooperating with the Ethics Committee,” Hill wrote. “This smear campaign will not get in the way of the work I am doing every day to move our district and our country forward. I am truly grateful for the outpouring of support I have received from colleagues and constituents alike, and I know we will get through this together.”

In a statement, the Ethics Committee said the fact that it was investigating the allegations “does not itself indicate that any violation has occurred, or reflect any judgment on behalf of the Committee,” said Reps. Ted Deutch and Kenny Marchant in a statement Wednesday evening. Deutch and Marchant are the chairman and ranking member of the committee respectively. 

On Friday, conservative blog RedState published a story detailing Hill’s alleged relationships with 2018 campaign staffers. The first allegation involved a female campaign staffer who entered into a relationship with Hill and Hill’s husband.

The second allegation is that Hill also had an extramarital affair with Graham Kelly, who worked for her campaign and is now her legislative director. A relationship with a current congressional staffer would be a violation of House rules.

Bridget Bowman contributed to this story.