Former California Congresswoman Katie Hill has been out of office for a full four months now and one might have expected that she’d be out of the news cycle as well. But for some reason, her name keeps coming up, though in areas that have little or nothing to do with politics. The most recent story that was tossed over the media transom showed up in the New York Post this week and it involves a journalist who was one of many who at least attempted to rush to Hill’s defense when she was under fire for inappropriate intimate relationships with staffers. Alex Thomas is a White House correspondent for Playboy Magazine (!?) and during the heat of that scandal, he took to Twitter with a scoop that supposedly “cleared” Hill’s good name by showing that the nude pictures of the Congresswoman were shopped around by the NRCC until they finally found a conservative outlet willing to publish them. What he failed to mention (and so did Hill) was that he was dating her at the time. (Free Beacon)

A Playboy journalist who went to bat for disgraced former representative Katie Hill (D., Calif.) after her resignation failed to disclose that they were dating at the time her scandal became public.

The New York Post reported Saturday that Playboy Washington correspondent Alex Thomas was seen at a book party with Hill, who resigned in October after photos of her nude with a campaign staffer emerged. Leaked text messages seemed to indicate that she was in a relationship with a congressional staffer in violation of House rules. On Monday, Hill confirmed in a New York magazine profile that she dated Thomas beginning in “mid-2019” and that “in August, they went on a beach vacation together.”

Of course, he was dating Hill. I mean, who wasn’t, amirite?

All kidding aside, it’s really none of my business who she was dating during that period. By that point, the “throuple” had reportedly broken up and her husband was already leaving her, so who she was seeing isn’t all that pertinent so long as they weren’t members of her staff.

What is important, considering that Hill was still in office at the time, was that a journalist was rushing to her defense with a bogus story and failed to disclose that he was in a relationship with the subject of his rant. As it turns out, the RNCC flatly denied shopping the pictures around and stated that they hadn’t even seen them before they were published at RedState. (Disclosure: RedState is a sister site of ours under the Salem Media brand.)

I wasn’t even aware that Playboy was still in business, to say nothing of having a White House correspondent, but in the end they didn’t run with Thomas’ story. Instead, he published it on his private newsletter. He later admitted that the NRCC story “checked out” and he deleted both the newsletter and the tweets.

In her recent profile piece, Hill also revealed that she was the one who broke up with Thomas. It happened on the same day that the throuple story broke in the Daily Mail, with Hill simply telling him “it’s over.”

This was a complete failure of journalistic ethics, but plenty of people picked up the story and ran with it until Thomas finally retracted everything. A spokesman for the NRCC added a bit more levity to this bizarre saga when providing a statement to the Free Beacon. (Emphasis added)

“It’s baffling that someone who has sex with the subject of his glowing puff piece articles making now-retracted accusations against our organization is a credentialed member of the press,” an NRCC spokesman said. “This is a sad day for proponents of journalistic ethics along with those who read Playboy for the articles.”

I’m old enough to remember when “reading Playboy for the articles” was a standard gag virtually anywhere you went. But if you’re relying on Playboy for your political reporting, you probably should have been more cautious to begin with. (I’d say the same for Rolling Stone if you’re not just looking for music news.)

The other thing to remember is that even if Thomas’ story had been 100% accurate, it didn’t exonerate Hill in the slightest. The source of the pictures or who leaked them was never the thing that drove Hill out of office. It was the fact that she was in a sexual relationship with at least one subordinate, if not two, possibly at the same time. It’s not a crime, but it’s an ethics issue and potentially a violation of House ethics rules.

Katie Hill keeps insisting that we haven’t heard the last of her and that she plans to continue her political activism and public service. At this point, I honestly can’t imagine her making a comeback as an elected official, but who knows? Politics makes for strange bedfellows (sorry…) and stranger things have happened. What’s more puzzling is how she hasn’t landed either a book deal or a movie treatment for her story yet. Anything that salacious would probably be a best seller or box office gold. Oh, wait… she did land a book deal after all. Can the screen adaptation be far behind?