In a rare moment of honesty about deception for a political figure, former Democratic congresswoman Katie Hill (CA) openly admitted in an interview with New York magazine that she was planning on lying about an adulterous sexual relationship with her then-campaign staffer that ultimately resulted in her resigning just days after it was exposed last October.
In the interview, Hill — who has repeatedly portrayed herself as the true victim of the #MeToo scandal, blaming her political downfall on right-wing critics — discussed her infamous “throuple” relationship with the then-staffer and her then-husband with Caitlin Moscatello back in December, telling her that initially her plan was to “just deny it.”
“You know, honestly, it was one of those things where it was like, Well, I’ll just deny it,” Hill told Moscatello, as reported in a lengthy profile piece published by The Cut Monday. “[My former campaign staffer] is not accusing me of anything. She doesn’t want it to come out any more than I do.”
Moscatello pauses for a moment to point out the rarity of the admission. “Plenty of politicians lie, but it’s rare for one to tell a reporter it was her game plan,” she writes.
But as Moscatello highlights in succinct fashion, the exposure of Hill’s “throuple” relationship was only part of the problem for the progressive rising star:
This was in early December as Hill scrambled to form a new life after photos of her — some of which she said were taken without her consent — were published online in mid-October. One shows Hill nude, brushing the hair of a junior female campaign staffer, Morgan (referred to here only by first name), in a hotel room. In others, there is Hill naked, holding a bong, with a tattoo of an iron cross — a Nazi-associated symbol used by white supremacists — near her groin; Hill and Morgan kissing. The articles accompanying them include private text messages among Hill, Morgan, and Hill’s estranged husband, Kenneth Heslep, detailing a three-way romantic relationship, as well as a claim by Heslep from a since-deleted Facebook post that Hill had had an affair with her male legislative director, Graham Kelly.
While the hard evidence that she’d conducted an adulterous sexual relationship with a subordinate on her campaign staff was politically damaging, as was the Nazi-esque tattoo, the allegation that she’d been involved in a relationship that violated a new #MeToo-inspired congressional rule quickly became the more immediate problem, as Moscatello details:
Hill released a statement denying the relationship with Kelly and accusing Heslep of spreading the rumor. The House Ethics Committee soon announced it would investigate the allegation related to Kelly (who also denied the relationship). If true, a relationship with Kelly would have violated a Me Too–era rule prohibiting members from having sexual relations with congressional staffers.
Upon the announcement of the investigation, Hill issued an admission that she had in fact had an affair with her then-campaign staffer.
“I had to admit that, yes, I had this relationship with a campaign staffer,” Hill told Moscatello. “So, you know, I’ve admitted to that. And once you’ve admitted to that one thing, then it brings everything else into question.”
She resigned within days, suggesting to Moscatello that she made the decision because she wanted to save her staff, and the Democratic Party, from the potentially damaging ethics investigation. “I knew so much was still coming. The ethics thing, it was going to pull our office in, and specifically my staff in, in a really f***ed-up way.” (Read the full interview here.)
As noted by the Free Beacon’s David Rutz in his coverage of the interview, Hill has continued to be a “media darling” even after her #MeToo scandal. “Since her scandal broke, Hill has been interviewed on Good Morning America, MSNBC’s All In with Chris Hayes, and CNN’s Reliable Sources,” Rutz notes. “She has also published an op-ed in the New York Times, and is writing a memoir. According to New York magazine, she dated Playboy writer Alex Thomas last summer and fall, but she now has a ‘new girlfriend.'”