Polyamory in the News!
. . . by Alan M.

October 23, 2019

Congresswoman Katie Hill outed for her poly triad; also accused of affair with staffer

UPDATE DECEMBER 7: Katie Hill's op-ed in the New York Times today, on how her near-suicide after these events has changed to her resolve to fight on: Katie Hill: It’s Not Over After All.

UPDATE OCTOBER 27: Congresswomen Hill resigned today. CNN story. More.

Hill’s farewell speech to the House is worth reading. She mentions that she resigned not because of what has already come out but because of “hundreds more photos and text messages that they would release bit by bit until they broke me down to nothing.”

The forces of revenge by a bitter jealous man, cyber exploitation and sexual shaming that target our gender and a large segment of society that fears and hates powerful women have combined to push a young woman out of power and say that she doesn’t belong here. Yet a man who brags about his sexual predation, who has had dozens of women come forward to accuse him of sexual assault, who pushes policies that are uniquely harmful to women and who has filled the courts with judges who proudly rule to deprive women of the most fundamental right to control their own bodies, sits in the highest office of the land.

So today, as my last vote, I voted on impeachment proceedings. Not just because of corruption, obstruction of justice or gross misconduct, but because of the deepest abuse of power, including the abuse of power over women.

Katie Hill (D-CA 25)
[This story has been updated.] Freshman congresswoman Katie Hill, Democrat of California, has been outed as having been in a poly triad relationship with her husband and another woman, and she is also accused of more recently having an affair with a male subordinate in her congressional office. She acknowledges the three-way relationship and denies having an affair with the congressional staffer, which would be a violation of a House rule adopted last February in the wake of #MeToo.

Hill is currently in a divorce case with her husband, Kenneth Heslep. The story broke when Heslop apparently gave a nude photo of her (standing and apparently brushing the other woman's hair), along with private correspondence, to RedState, a militant conservative site.

From the nonpartisan CQ Roll Call, which covers news of Congress:

Democratic Rep. Katie Hill denies relationship with congressional staffer

By Bridget Bowman

Rep. Katie Hill on Tuesday denied allegations 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.

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.

“Allegations that I have been involved in a relationship with Mr. Kelly are absolutely false,” Hill said in a statement to CQ Roll Call. “I am saddened that the deeply personal matter of my divorce has been brought into public view and the vindictive claims of my ex have now involved the lives and reputations of unrelated parties.”

...Members of Congress are barred from having a sexual relationship with their own staffers. ... A potential violation of the code of conduct could trigger an Ethics Committee investigation and a recommendation for punishment. Past violations of House rules have involved different punishments, ranging from expulsion and censure to a less severe reprimand.

Hill’s statement did not address the allegation that she and her husband were in a relationship with a female campaign staffer. Hill, who is bisexual, did reference explicit photos that RedState published in its story, saying she has notified Capitol Police.

“Intimate photos of me and another individual were published by Republican operatives on the internet without my consent,” Hill said. “I have notified Capitol Hill police who are investigating the situation and potential legal violations of those who posted and distributed the photos, and therefore will have no further comment on the digital materials. ...

“This coordinated effort to try to destroy me and people close to me is despicable and will not succeed. I, like many women who have faced attacks like this before, am stronger than those who want me to be afraid.”

Hill, who has been open about being bisexual since she ran for Congress last year, is a top target for the GOP in 2020. She won her longtime Republican seat, which is located north of Los Angeles and includes most of Simi Valley, by unseating GOP Rep. Steve Knight by 9 points. Inside Elections with Nathan L. Gonzales rates her reelection Likely Democratic.

Since coming to Congress, Hill has emerged as one of the leaders of her freshman class. ... The late House Oversight Chairman Elijah E. Cummings tapped her to serve as the panel’s vice chairwoman, a position for more junior members.

The whole article (October 22, 2019).

Update Oct. 24:

From CNN, Katie Hill admits to relationship with campaign staffer after ethics probe announced over separate alleged relationship (Oct. 23).

...In a letter to constituents released Wednesday night, Hill writes, "During the final tumultuous years of my abusive marriage, I became involved in a relationship with someone on my campaign. I know that even a consensual relationship with a subordinate is inappropriate, but I still allowed it to happen despite my better judgment. For that I apologize. I wish nothing but the best for her.

...Hill goes on to say, "I am going through a divorce from an abusive husband who seems determined to try to humiliate me. I am disgusted that my opponents would seek to exploit such a private matter for political gain."

Let's not assume that the two-year relationship of three was a happy one. On Wednesday RedState published new stuff it was holding. Reports Vox, in Revenge porn, biphobia, and alleged relationships with staffers: The complicated story around Rep. Katie Hill, explained (Oct. 23),

In a follow-up story, RedState published texts purportedly between the staffer and Hill’s husband, Heslep, alluding to abusive behavior in the relationship.

“It was a dark time and you treated me really poorly but I also stayed which I have to own,” one of the texts, purportedly from the staffer to Heslep, reads.

According to RedState, Heslep replied, “Don’t take full responsibility for staying with people that are abusing you. That is basically victim blaming, and none of it was your fault.”

In one text to the staffer, Heslep referred to “katies abuse,” according to RedState. And in another, the staffer referred to a hobby she enjoyed, according to the website: “She can ruin politics, take all my friends, and isolate me, but she can’t have [this].”

More news stories.


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