The 2018 midterm elections were held on November 6, 2018. Thirty five seats were contested in the Senate and all 435 seats in the House of Representatives. The Democrats gained 41 seats establishing control of the House; they needed a net increase of 25. The Democrats defeated 29 Republicans incumbents, added 14 open seats becoming a majority for the first time since the 2010 elections. Many of the pickups were in areas that gave Clinton a plurality in 2016.
The new Congress consisted of 127 ( 23.7 percent). The Democrats gained 25 female seats but the Republicans lost 10 female seats. There were many historic firsts for women. Twenty millennials were represented in the House, which included Katie Hill.
Katie Hill grew up in Agua Dulce, a town of 3300 population and located in the high desert country of northern Los Angeles County. Her mother was a nurse and father a policeman. She graduated from Saugus High School, now infamous for a school shooting rampage (November 14, 2019), in 2004. About that same time, she declared herself bisexual. She attended California State University, Northridge receiving a bachelor’s degree in Englsih and a Master of Public Administration.
In July 2010, she married Kenny Heslep, an artist, whom she dated since high school. They lived outside Agua Dulce on a ranch where they cared for rescued animals. She began her career working as a policy advocate at People Assisting the Homeless (PATH). She rose rapidly through the ranks and became Executive Director. The company rose with her and was transformed from a local agency to one of the largest non-profit providers of homes for the homeless in California. She championed Measure H, a $1.2 billion ballot initiative to alleviate the homeless. Kenny worked for PATH from 2010 - 2014; thereafter, he has remained a stay at home husband.
On March 8, 2017, Hill announced her candidacy for the United States House of Representative for California’s 25th congressional district. She ran as a progressive, although she supported some type of physical barrier at the southern border and was a gun owner. Her campaign did not accept money from corporate political action committees, but she still raised over $1 million. The HBO show Vice News Tonight documented her campaign and called it “the most millennial campaign” for Congress. She defeated incumbent Republican Representative Steve Knight 54% vs. 46%. Hill was chosen for one of the two freshman class representatives for the Democratice Caucus. She was appointed to three committees and three caucus memberships. Hill had reached Tallpoppydom; she was now a public figure and servant, and would be held to a higher standard than Katie Hill from Agua Dulce.
She seemed to sense it as well. In an interview with Elle magazine ( June 2019) Hill shared a quote from Rep. Elijah Cummings, Chairman of the Committee on Oversight and Reform: “It [was] that our role on Oversight is to get to the truth and follow the truth wherever it leads us and to expose that for the American people, to make sure that they have the information that they should have to, frankly, evaluate their government.”
Heslep stayed home while Hill became bicoastal in early 2019. He filed for divorce in July 2019 after nearly a decade of marriage (fifteen years together) and sought financial support; Hill has stopped speaking with him and supporting him. In September, 2019, Helsep solicited interviews with a local podcaster from Santa Clarita which were rejected. On October 10, 2019, Redstate, a conservative blog site, reported that Heslep (jealousy, anger and revenge) claimed Hill was having an extramarital affair with her former campaign finance manager who was now her congressional legislative director. Some text messages were chronicled to support the claim. Hill denied the allegations and blamed her abusive husband and political opponents.
On October 18, 2019, Redstate had a follow up blog detailing Hill’s relationship in 2017 with a 22 year old female campaign staff member which segued into a three way relationship to include Heslep. They published some photos of Hill, one nude, with someone other than Heslep and stated there were more intimate photos that they chose not to publish. Some text messages were disclosed along with Heslep’s claim that numerous sources informed him of Hill’s relationship with her legislative director.
On October 23, the House Ethics Committee opened an investigation into Hill’s potential wrongdoings. The Code of Conduct states: 18.(a) 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.
Less known to the public is the Report on the Committee of Ethics (November 20, 2018): inappropriate sexual advances on campaign staff constitute a violation of House ethics rules noting that services as an elected official involves power imbalances that members must be careful not to exploit.
On October 23, a tweet by Hill admitted to the campaign staff affair and that she would cooperate with Congress. On October 24, Daily Mail. com, a British tabloid, reported composite stories of Redstate and published explicit photographs of Hill, one nude, smoking a bong with brown smoke in it and an iron cross tattoo on her bikini line.
On October 27, Hill tweeted that she was resigning from Congress (tall poppied) and published her resignation letter. CBS News reported Nancy Pelosi as saying, “some errors in judgement that made her service as a Member untenable. We must ensure a climate of integrity and dignity in the Congress and in all workplaces.”
On October 28, in a video presentation: Hill (angry) blamed her abusive husband and the brutality of “hateful” political operatives; vowed to fight the leaking of intimate photographs; and pledged a new fight on “revenge porn” or cyber exploitation.
For the record, U.S. Rep. Joe Barton from Texas had a sexually explicit photo posted anonymously on twitter (November 2017) and, after 33 years in the House, decided not to run for reelection in 2018. Since the #MeToo enacted legislation by the House, nine members of Congress have resigned or decided not to run for reelection. He was a victim of TPS as well and cut down most likely by someone with one of the emotions below and the #MeToo movement itself.
Revenge porn is a type of cyber exploitation or bullying. It is defined as “angry, jealous, envious, revenge” seeking mates who publicizes nude or sexual photos to humiliate, intimidate or damage the reputation of the other. One of the problems with the definition is that hackers or profit seekers may do this as well. Kenny Helsep, now the victim as well, has already claimed his computer has been hacked. The emotions involved in revenge porn are similar to those associated withTPS. The emotions may be the prime mover in the cutter but revenge porn may be the scissors.
As many as 46 states have statutes against revenge porn to include both California and Washington, D. C. The D.C. law “ forbids both sharing and the publication of explicit private images when the disclosure is non consensual and meant to inflict harm --- but not if the disclosure or publication of a sexual image is made in the public interest, including the reporting of an unlawful conduct.”
Katie Hill was a victim of the Tall Poppy Syndrome. Her behavior was egregious, her husband was angry and jealous and she was also an unintended consequence of the #MeToo movement. Revenge porn, politics and the press were knives and scissors.