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Week In Politics: The Legal And Ethical Questions Raised By CA Rep Katie Hill’s Resignation




Rep. Katie Hill (D-CA) speaks during a news conference.
Rep. Katie Hill (D-CA) speaks during a news conference.
Zach Gibson/Getty Images

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On Monday, California Rep. Katie Hill (D-25th District) announced her decision to resign from office, following allegations of misconduct, leaked explicit photos and a House Ethics Committee investigation. 

In her video explanation, Hill, who has been going through a contentious divorce, called her husband “abusive” and said she was the victim of revenge porn. 

Several websites had published intimate photos of Hill without her consent, along with allegations that she had been romantically involved with a younger female campaign staffer, as well as her Legislative Director when she was in the House. 

Hill has acknowledged that she was in a consensual relationship with a campaign staffer, which is not barred by House rules, but has been investigated in the past. Katie Hill has denied having a romantic relationship with her Legislative Director, which would be explicitly forbidden by House rules that were instated in the wake of #MeToo. You can read more about these events here

This story has raised many complicated questions -- about what constitutes revenge porn, the level of transparency constituents might expect from a politician, the appropriateness of romantic relationships between politicians and their staff and more. 

We dive into these questions with our political analysts, as well as a legal expert. And we want to hear from you. Call us at 866-893-5722. 

Guests:

Jack Pitney, professor of politics at Claremont McKenna College; he tweets @jpitney   

Nomiki Konst, former member of the DNC Unity Reform Commission, which worked to increase participation in the Democratic Party and reform the presidential primary process; former Bernie Sanders surrogate in 2016; she tweets @NomikiKonst

Mary Anne Franks, professor of law at the University of Miami in Florida where she teaches criminal and constitutional law and author of “The Cult of the Constitution, Our Deadly Devotion to Guns and Free Speech” (Stanford, 2019); she drafted the first model criminal statute on nonconsensual pornography (revenge porn) which has been used as the template for multiple state law and for pending federal legislation on the issue; she tweets @ma_franks

Dmitry Gorin, criminal defense attorney with the Los Angeles-based firm Eisner Gorin, LLP and a former trial prosecutor in the Los Angeles District Attorney’s Office and; he tweets @DmitryGorin