Media looks away from sordid details of Katie Hill affair to focus on right-wing blogger who broke story

Screengrab Katie Hill, Fox News

Jennifer Van Laar, a managing editor at RedState, broke the story of now former Rep. Katie Hill being in a “throuple” relationship with her husband and a campaign staffer, is coming under fire for previous ties with opponents of the congresswoman who just resigned in disgrace.

As if that changes the nude photos of Hill grooming said staffer.

Hill admitted that she had a sexual relationship with the female staffer, as her now estranged husband reportedly opened the vault on her transgressions — he accused Hill of also having an affair with her legislative director Graham Kelly, although she has denied this.

It was the alleged affair with Kelly, a violation of congressional rules, that prompted a House ethics investigation that led to her stepping down.

Hill is reportedly pursuing legal actions against Red State and the British tabloid Daily Mail for publishing nude photos of her, photos she considers revenge porn released by “an abusive husband who seems determined to try to humiliate me,” according to Vox.

She and her husband, Kenny Heslep, are going through divorce proceedings after Hill allegedly told her husband and the campaign staffer she wanted to end their three-way sexual relationship to focus on “this important work” of impeaching President Trump.

In a video statement Monday announcing that she was resigning, Hill labeled Van Laar’s reporting as a “coordinated campaign carried out by the right wing media and Republican opponents enabling and perpetuating my husband’s abuse by providing him a platform.”


Amid all the salacious details, Mediaite reported that Van Laar “is a longtime GOP consultant who has worked for Republican politicians who ran against Hill and was at one point the campaign manager for a California Republican who ran for Hill’s seat.”

Which would put her, on a somewhat lesser scale, in a position similar to ABC News’ George Stephanopoulos, no?

For that matter, there are a bevy of former political operatives in media today who have worked with many candidates over the course of time. Nonetheless, this doesn’t detract from the facts in Hill’s case of inappropriate behavior.

Even House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., said that Hill “has acknowledged errors in judgment that made her continued service as a member untenable.”

According to Mediaite, Van Laar’s original sin is that she’s employed at “a right-wing publication.”

She has also worked for two candidates looking to challenge Hill, the site reported:

“But she has also worked for Santa Clarita GOP assembly seat candidate Suzette Valladares, who announced in the spring that she was challenging Hill’s seat in 2020 but dropped out last month to join the local race. On top of that, Van Laar worked for former Rep. Steve Knight, the Republican incumbent in California’s 25th Congressional District who was unseated by Hill in 2018.


It appears that Van Laar did not disclose this information in reporting on Hill — for what it’s worth, she is a blogger, not a journalist. The Mediaite article goes on to dig further into Van Laar’s background in an attempt to make the story more about her than the naked Democrat.

But it’s not like Van Laar was hiding this information.

When Knight announced on Sunday he was running for the open seat, she responded online.

“Well, this changes the game,” she said. “I’ve known Steve Knight since early 2014 and worked on his 1st campaign. He and Lily stood by me when most in CAGOP did not. He has integrity, cares about the individual, and is a policy wonk. I’d be again in a heartbeat.”


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