How Local Republican Operatives Brought Down Katie Hill

October 31, 2019Media Mention
Los Angeles Magazine

The salacious news articles and photos that prompted Congresswoman Katie Hill to announce her resignation on October 27 were published under the byline of a Simi Valley woman who has worked on the campaigns of at least two of Hill’s Republican political opponents.

The reporter, Jennifer Van Laar, was reportedly a campaign advisor to former Congressman Steve Knight, unseated by Hill a year ago. A story co-authored by Van Laar appeared in the Daily Mail on October 24 featuring nude photos of Hill with a female campaign staffer. This followed a series of reports published on, a right-wing political site that lists Van Laar as its “deputy managing editor.” In the articles, Van Laar did not mention that she had worked on Knight’s 2014 campaign for Congress.

Doug Mirell, a lawyer who has studied California’s criminal revenge porn statute, says that what befell Hill was clearly a crime under the revenge porn law. Though the law carves out an exception for media organizations, he says, whoever leaked the photos to the media could also be liable for civil penalties.