Tag Archives: #MeToo

Katie Hill first female lawmaker to deal with House ethics questions on sex-related matter …

Katie Hill first female lawmaker to deal with House ethics questions on sex-related matter …

Rep. Katie Hill, the topic of a brand-new Home Ethics Committee inquiry over an alleged relationship with a personnel member, is the very first female lawmaker to face such a charge.

The first-term California Democrat rejects she ever had an improper relationship with her legal director, Graham Kelly, as declared by her estranged spouse, Kenny Heslep. The set are in the midst of divorce procedures, and Heslep likewise alleged that he, Hill, and a team member on her effective 2018 campaign for a northern Los Angeles County seat were participated in an intimate relationship, consisting of explicit photos that appeared on the conservative site RedState.

Hill confessed Wednesday night to having an affair with a project employee and guaranteed to deal with your house Ethics Committee.

Lots of Home members have been associated with Capitol Hill sex scandals, however to date, they’ve all been males. Members of both parties have actually been implicated.

In 2017, for circumstances, then-Rep. Trent Franks, an Arizona Republican, was examined by the ethics committee after Home officials found out that he had actually asked two female workers to bear his child as a surrogate. But Franks suddenly resigned prior to the committee study concluded, indicating the panel lost jurisdiction since he was no longer a House member.

In 2010, first-term Rep. Eric Massa, a New York Democrat, resigned to avoid a principles investigation into his confessed groping and tickling of numerous male staffers.

Congressional sex scandals in earlier years happened when your home had overwhelmingly male membership.

Relationships in between members of Congress and campaign personnel are not clearly dealt with in the Home code of conduct. Consisting of Hill, there are presently 102 ladies serving in the 435- member Home, about 23%.

And while relationships between Home members and their assistants plainly fall under the House Ethics Committee’s jurisdiction, particularly after the chamber beefed up its rules in current years due to #MeToo scandals, questionable habits during a congressional project is a murkier location.

On Dec. 1, 2017, a previous project staffer accused first-term Nevada Democratic Rep. Ruben Kihuen of sexual misbehavior. By Dec. 17, 2017, the House Ethics Committee released an examination into Kihuen. He wound up serving a single term in your house. Quickly prior to Kihuen left office, in November 2018, the principles committee officially approved him, identifying he “made persistent and unwanted advances towards women.”

The supposed relationship in between Hill and her female campaign staffer has been presumed to be consensual, but, according to new text launched on Tuesday by RedState between the staffer and Hill’s estranged other half Heslep, along with Hill herself, the three-way relationship was referred to as “dark” and “harmful” by the young female staffer.

In one text message, the staffer explained her discomfort with Hill when she asked her to put sun block on her prior to a project event.

” Hi. I did my best to be professional and keep things typical at[work] I would actually appreciate it if you didn’t ask me to do things like put sun blocks on you,” the staffer stated.

Hill responded, “You did an excellent task. And I was not trying to ask you. I was trying to get one of the others to. However you were standing right there and they kinda turned to you and I didn’t know what to do.”

Democrats refuse to go on the record about Hill’s circumstance, waiting to see how it plays out. However one male Home Democrat who dealt with the ethics committee in the previous informed the Washington Examiner that in spite of her gender, “she is most likely to be treated like anybody else and will go through Principles.”

When asked if males and females who discover themselves in congressional scandals are dealt with differently, the member replied, “I smiled [when I first heard about Hill’s story] since it revealed we have come full turn, since now females are [facing the same scrutiny] that men here are.”

Another male Democratic House member informed the Washington Examiner, “I do not think that [Hill] will be dealt with unfairly. She needs to be dealt with fairly, and you can’t leap to any conclusions, much like if it was anyone else, man or woman. We just require to drive out and focus on any dishonest behavior.”

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#MeToo Concerns Arise as Katie Hill’s Throuple Partner Describes ‘Toxic’ Relationship With Her Boss

#MeToo Concerns Arise as Katie Hill’s Throuple Partner Describes ‘Toxic’ Relationship With Her Boss

Since the story about freshman Rep. Katie Hill’s “throuple” relationship with a young female staffer broke last week, the common response from progressives in the media and Hill apologists has sounded something like this:

“It was a consensual relationship between two adults, and she wasn’t part of Hill’s Congressional staff, so it’s none of our business.”

But was the relationship really consensual? In the age of #MeToo, activists contend that when a large power imbalance exists, such as between a CEO and an employee, the employee is incapable of giving consent. Even assuming that true consent existed at the beginning of the relationship, the power imbalance could keep an employee in a bad relationship for fear that they will lose their job or suffer other negative consequences.

In the case of the Hill throuple, text messages between Kenny Heslep and Hill’s staffer from June 2019 depict an unhealthy, toxic relationship – Heslep even characterizes the way in which he and Hill treated the staffer as “abusive” as he apologizes for hurting her.

Heslep wrote:

“I mean it, though, man. It has been weighing very, very heavily on me lately. Part of my mind keeps trying to justify it because of katies abuse. That she created the ‘s**t rolls downhill’ situation. But that is no excuse whatsoever for what I did. So again, I’m sorry.”

The staffer replies:

“It was a dark time and you treated me really poorly but I also stayed which I have to own.”

Heslep assures her she doesn’t need to take full responsibility:

“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. I’m sorry for how bad it got.”

In a later message, the staffer herself characterized the relationship as “toxic.”

She was still ready to build a future with Hill and Heslep:

“Think of how toxic our relationship was? And I was still ready to put together something real. To build a future on that absolutely abysmal foundation.”

In another message from the staffer to Hill on June 3, 2019, the staffer said she was “terrified of pushing back” against Hill because she’d witnessed Hill’s behavior toward Heslep.

She continued:

“I think that if I cause any issues, even if I am worried about how you are acting, that very quickly you will decide you don’t want me in your life. I hope I am wrong but that’s not really a good way for a partnership to be.”

Clearly the young woman doesn’t want to be cut out of the life of the partner she loves, but she also risks losing her job and any upward mobility in her political career. In a text exchange between the young woman and Heslep on June 12, 2019, she references what she is losing in addition to the relationship.

She told Heslep:

“Idk, I was getting ready and I was thinking about how much Katie liked to watch me [reference to a hobby]…It’s ok, she can’t take [this] from me. She can ruin politics, take all my friends, and isolate me, but she can’t have [this].”

The staffer continued her work on the campaign side despite the awkwardness and emotional distress it caused. Hill, however, seemed tone-deaf, asking her former lover to apply sunscreen on her prior to an event – in front of the rest of the staff. The young woman later texted Hill to express her displeasure.

She said:

“Hi. I did my very best to be professional and keep things normal at [work]. I would really appreciate it if you didn’t ask me to do things like put sunscreen on you.”

Hill turned it around on the young staffer:

“You did a great job. And I was not trying to ask you. I was trying to get one of the others to. But you were standing right there and they kinda turned to you and I didn’t know what to do.”

Really? Hill couldn’t have directly approached a different staffer? She couldn’t have made something up about the chemicals in sunscreen bothering the staffer’s skin or some other excuse? Also, in any normal workplace, it would be extremely odd for a boss to ask a subordinate to apply sunscreen to them.

Returning to the consent issues between a CEO (Hill would be considered the CEO of both her campaign and her Congressional office) and a subordinate, the Washington Post reported that there is an attitude of “zero tolerance” for allegedly consensual workplace romances and that five high-profile CEO’s had been forced out of their jobs for consensual relationships since October 2017:

“Whatever the reason for the departure, employment lawyers say boards of directors at many companies are quicker to act in an era of increased media coverage about CEO transgressions, #MeToo misconduct that increases scrutiny of even consensual relationships and more demands on boards to hold chief executives accountable for risky behavior.”

The problem with a consensual relationship in the office goes beyond harm to the subordinate/victim; the relationship eventually affects others. In a 2018 essay in Harper’s Bazaar, Leila Gowland, an expert on workplace dynamics, writes:

“Many sexual harassment scandals stem from abuses of power—which makes them inherently problematic—and the problems that can result extend beyond the individuals engaging in sexual activity. When leaders enter into romantic or sexual relationships with subordinates, the risks are significant: actual or perceived coercion or favoritism, undermining of team dynamics, and damage to organizational culture.”

The age of the female staffer, combined with the power imbalance and Hill’s popularity as a progressive up-and-comer, also calls into question her ability to consent. A generation ago, another 22-year-old started a “consensual” relationship with her very powerful boss. That woman, Monica Lewinsky, wrote in 2018:

“Now, at 44, I’m beginning (just beginning) to consider the implications of the power differentials that were so vast between a president and a White House intern. I’m beginning to entertain the notion that in such a circumstance the idea of consent might well be rendered moot. (Although power imbalances—and the ability to abuse them—do exist even when the sex has been consensual.)

“The dictionary definition of “consent”? “To give permission for something to happen.” And yet what did the “something” mean in this instance, given the power dynamics, his position, and my age? Was the “something” just about crossing a line of sexual (and later emotional) intimacy? (An intimacy I wanted—with a 22-year-old’s limited understanding of the consequences.) He was my boss. He was the most powerful man on the planet. He was 27 years my senior, with enough life experience to know better. He was, at the time, at the pinnacle of his career, while I was in my first job out of college.”

Granted, Katie Hill wasn’t and isn’t the most powerful woman on the planet. She’s been held up as one of the shining stars of the new progressive wing of the Democrat party, though, and had HBO camera crews following her throughout her campaign, glowing write-ups in Elle, Rolling Stone, Politico, and more, and was quickly brought into party leadership upon her election. It’s understandable that the young staffer would be brought under Hill’s spell and confuse adulation with consent and love.

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First Lawmaker To Trigger New #MeToo Era Conduct Rules Is A Female Freshman

First Lawmaker To Trigger New #MeToo Era Conduct Rules Is A Female Freshman

The House Ethics Committee announced Wednesday a preliminary inquiry into Rep. Katie Hill, D-Calif., over allegations of a sexual relationship with a member of her staff. She denies the allegation.

J. Scott Applewhite/AP

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J. Scott Applewhite/AP

The House Ethics Committee announced Wednesday a preliminary inquiry into Rep. Katie Hill, D-Calif., over allegations of a sexual relationship with a member of her staff. She denies the allegation.

J. Scott Applewhite/AP

Over a six-month period in 2017 and 2018, nine lawmakers — eight men and one woman — were forced out of office, either by resignation or by early retirement, over varying degrees of allegations of inappropriate sexual behavior or tolerance of such behavior.

At the height of the #MeToo era, then-Speaker Paul Ryan, R-Wis., and then-Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., directed lawmakers to come up with a new set of rules intended to change the culture of Capitol Hill.

One of the changes, advocated by Rep. Bradley Byrne, R-Ala., updated House rules to prohibit lawmakers from having sexual relations with anyone who works in their congressional office or on any committees on which they serve. The new rules do not apply to relations between lawmakers or with aides they do not supervise. The House approved the change in February 2018.

The first lawmaker to trigger those new rules is a woman, freshman Rep. Katie Hill, D-Calif., and a member of House Democratic leadership.

She is accused by her husband, amid a rancorous divorce proceeding, of having a relationship with Graham Kelly, her legislative director. The conservative media outlet Red State was the first to report on the allegations last week. Hill has publicly and privately denied the allegation and says she is the victim of a smear campaign.

“Allegations that I have been involved in a relationship with Mr. Kelly are absolutely false,” Hill said in a statement. “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.”

However, the allegation was enough for the House Ethics Committee to announce a preliminary investigation on Wednesday, citing the 2018 rules change.

The divorce proceedings and the inquiry puts Hill, a rising star in the freshman class, in a rare negative spotlight on Capitol Hill. She was elected by her freshman colleagues to serve as one of their representatives at the leadership table with House Speaker Pelosi. She also serves as the vice chair of the House Oversight and Reform Committee.

Last week, Red State published text messages and nude photos of Hill that revealed select details in the contentious ongoing divorce from her husband, Kenny Heslep, including details of a former consensual extramarital relationship between the two and a female campaign aide.

Republicans Disrupt House Impeachment Inquiry, Delaying Testimony From Pentagon Aide

Hill sent a letter to her constituents on Wednesday admitting to, and apologizing for, the affair with the campaign aide. She also said she is fully cooperating with the Ethics Committee’s inquiry.

There are no laws or House rules that prohibit consensual relationships with campaign staffers.

Separately, Hill released a statement saying she notified Capitol Hill Police about the nude photos and they “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.” Hill said she is the victim of a targeted political attack. “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,” she said.

Party leaders have not commented on the allegations against Hill. At least one House Republican, Florida’s Matt Gaetz, defended her on Twitter, calling it “absurd” that the Ethics Committee was conducting an investigation. “Who among us would look perfect if every ex leaked every photo/text? Katie isn’t being investigated by Ethics or maligned because she hurt anyone – it is because she is different,” Gaetz said. Hill is openly bisexual.

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