SANTA CLARITA (CNS) - The House Ethics Committee announced today it has begun an investigation into Rep. Katie Hill, D-Santa Clarita, over allegations she had a relationship with a member of her staff.
``The committee notes that the mere fact that it is investigating these allegations, and publicly disclosing its review, does not itself indicate that any violation has occurred, or reflect any judgment on behalf of the committee,'' according to a statement from the panel. ``No other public comment will be made on this matter except in accordance with committee rules.''
A representative for Hill could not be reached for immediate comment.
Hill issued a statement Tuesday calling the allegation ``absolutely false.''
``The fact is I am going through a divorce from an abusive husband who seems determined to try to humiliate me,'' Hill said. ``I am disgusted that my opponents would seek to exploit such a private matter for political gain. 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 said in the statement she had contacted U.S. Capitol Police after intimate photos of her and another person were published by the conservative website RedState, images she said were ``published by Republican operatives on the internet without my consent.''
RedState published a series of articles over the last week alleging Hill was involved in relationships with a campaign staffer and, separately, a congressional staff member. Text messages purportedly between Hill, the campaign aide and her husband were published by site on Tuesday.
Hill called the articles a ``smear campaign.''
According to the Los Angeles Times, Hill sent a letter to constituents Wednesday acknowledging a relationship with a member of her campaign staff.
``I know that even a consensual relationship with a subordinate is inappropriate, but I still allowed it to happen despite my better judgment,'' Hill wrote in the letter.
She also said she was cooperating with the House Ethics Committee.
The House voted in 2018 to prohibit sexual relationships between lawmakers and their employees.
Hill defeated then-Rep. Steve Knight, R-Palmdale, in November to represent the 25th Congressional District, which includes Santa Clarita Valley, and portions of the northern San Fernando Valley, Antelope Valley and eastern Ventura County.
Hill is California's first bisexual member of Congress.