House Democratic leaders dodge questions over naked photo of Rep. Katie Hill


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House Democratic leaders said they have not discussed or planned a response to allegations that Rep. Katie Hill was involved in a romantic relationship with two employees, including one in her congressional office.

Speaker Nancy Pelosi met early Tuesday with her top deputies for a planned meeting and did not discuss the allegations over the first-term California Democrat. No other lawmaker brought it up either. An explicit photo of Hill, first published by RedState on Friday, shows a naked Hill, 32, sitting on a chair and combing the hair of a fully clothed woman kneeling in front of her.

Hill holds two leadership roles in the House, serving as freshman caucus representative and vice chairwoman of the House Oversight and Reform Committee, which is among the three panels conducting a closed-door impeachment inquiry into President Trump.

Lawmakers did not raise the allegations against Hill during a weekly closed-door meeting with the entire Democratic caucus later Tuesday morning. “This didn’t come up,” Democratic Caucus Chairman Hakeem Jeffries of New York, told the Washington Examiner.

A reporter asked House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer about the matter, and the Maryland Democrat said he had “no comment.” Hill stands accused of having an extramarital affair with a former campaign staffer in her congressional bid, as well as her current legislative director, RedState reported Friday. The campaign staff member is a woman, and the congressional office employee is a man.

Hill took office in January 2019. The actions, if proven true, would violate House Rules code of conduct: “A Member, Delegate, or Resident Commissioner may not engage in a sexual relationship with any employee of the House who works under the supervision of the Member, Delegate, or Resident Commissioner, or who is an employee of a committee on which the Member, Delegate, or Resident Commissioner serves. This paragraph does not apply with respect to any relationship between two people who are married to each other.”

[Related: Swing district: Katie Hill 2020 rivals seize on leaked naked ‘throuple’ photo as campaign issue]

Congressional records show Hill’s legislative director, Graham C. Kelly, began work in January 2019 and is making a salary on par with other House employees sharing that title — about $75,000 annually. Hill is denying allegations of having an affair with Kelly.

If Hill was involved in a romantic relationship with the staffer, she could end up the subject of an investigation by the House Ethics Committee, which polices lawmakers accused of violating the rules.

The ethics panel could choose to start an investigation on its own or begin an inquiry if a fellow lawmaker asks them to initiate one. The Office of Congressional Ethics, which is an outside ethics panel sanctioned by the House, could also launch an inquiry into Hill if it receives a complaint by a group or an individual who is not a member of Congress.

Hill could also face pressure or discipline from the Democratic leadership. In recent years, lawmakers caught up in sex scandals have been forced to resign or decided not to seek reelection. Hill was involved with the campaign staffer along with her husband, from whom she is now seeking a divorce, in a three-way relationship.

Hill ended the relationship with the campaign staffer when she arrived in Congress, but at that time, she was reportedly involved with her legislative director. Pelosi, a California Democrat, had no comment, her representative told the Washington Examiner.

Jeffries, the caucus chairman, told the Washington Examiner, “Until I’m familiar with it, I’m not in position to comment.”

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