The House Ethics Committee has opened an investigation into allegations that Rep. Katie Hill, D-Agua Dulce, engaged in a sexual relationship with a member of her congressional staff, which would violate House rules.
“The committee notes that the mere fact that it is investigating these allegations, and publicly disclosing its review, does not itself indicate that any violation has occurred, or reflect any judgment on behalf of the committee,” a statement released by the committee Wednesday afternoon said.
While on Tuesday Hill denied the allegations as the result of “a divorce from an abusive husband who seems determined to try to humiliate me,” in a letter to supporters on Wednesday she acknowledged a relationship with a member of her campaign, not congressional, staff.
“During the final tumultuous years of my abusive marriage, I became involved in a relationship with someone on my campaign,” Hill said. “I know that even a consensual relationship with a subordinate is inappropriate, but I still allowed it to happen despite my better judgment.”
Hill said the allegations were part of a “coordinated effort to try to destroy me and the people close to me” and that her opponents sought to “exploit such a private matter for political gain.”
“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,” she said.
The House voted in 2018 to prohibit sexual relationships between lawmakers and their employees.
Lancaster Councilmember Angela Underwood-Jacobs, a Republican candidate running for Hill’s seat in 2020, on Tuesday called for Hill to resign from her position as vice chair of the House Oversight Committee and her congressional seat over the allegations.
“While I believe that elected officials should be afforded a reasonable level of privacy, Ms. Hill’s relationships with two different members of her staff cross the line of ethical boundaries that members of Congress should be held to,” Underwood-Jacobs said in a statement posted on social media. “Ms. Hill’s behavior exhibits extremely poor judgment — it violates House ethics and it could have put our nation at risk due to her heightened potential to be blackmailed.”
“The people of the 25th District deserve better from their member of Congress,” Underwood-Jacobs said. “I implore Ms. Hill to resign not only from her role on the Oversight Committee, but also from her post as our congresswoman.”
A second Republican candidate for the 25th District seat, Santa Clarita resident Mike Garcia, on Wednesday called the allegations “disturbing.”
“No member of Congress should ever engage in a relationship with a staffer. Ever. Period,” he said. “In the Navy, I took an oath of office and it would’ve been grounds for dishonorable discharge if a member of the military ever conducted themselves in this way. Katie Hill also took an oath and we need full transparency and accountability.”