Reporter Who Broke Katie Hill Story Called Herself 'Campaign Manager' for Hill's GOP Opponents

The writer behind the publications that leaked nude photos of former Representative Katie Hill is a longtime conservative consultant who worked for Republican politicians that ran against Hill, reports Mediaite.

Jennifer Van Laar, deputy managing editor at and writer for the Daily Mail, posted the allegations about Hill accompanied by nude photos of the former representative. When Hill resigned, Van Laar was online urging support for Republican candidates to win the seat.

Like its name suggests, leans conservative, so Van Laar's support of Republican candidates is no surprise. Her reporting of Hill and connections to Hill's political opponents, though, have revealed interesting overlaps and questions about transparency.

Reporting from Van Laar about the former congresswoman led to Hill admitting to an affair with a female campaign staffer and eventually resigning. Since Hill is going through a contentious divorce and her husband was shopping the "scandal" around to news outlets, many have come to the conclusion that Van Laar got her information and illicit photos from him.

If you want to help us flip @KatieHill4CA's former #CA25 seat BACK to RED, please learn more about @MikeGarcia2020 and contribute to his campaign at! Fortunately we already have a strong GOP candidate here. @KurtSchlichter @RealSaavedra @DonaldJTrumpJr

— Jennifer Van Laar (@jenvanlaar) October 28, 2019

Because of this, cries of "revenge porn" have surfaced online, especially on Twitter.

California Governor Jerry Brown signed into law SB 255, or the "Revenge Porn" bill, on October 1, 2013. The law makes it a crime to post sexually explicit pictures or video online of another person without his or her permission with the intention of causing emotional distress or publicly humiliating the subject.

I would love to see @KatieHill4CA sue her into the ground because revenge porn. 🦄

— Molly Jong-Fast🏡 (@MollyJongFast) October 30, 2019

That includes sharing the odious Daily Mail piece that featured the revenge porn pictures. Hill is a victim of a crime. This story isn’t a joke or a titillating scandal, it’s a horrific assault on Hill’s privacy and the media botched it from the start.

— Mark Joseph Stern (@mjs_DC) October 28, 2019

In addition to being a managing editor at RedState, Van Laar also runs a Republican consulting and opposition research firm involved in California races.

She worked for former Representative Steve Knight, the Republican incumbent who was unseated by Hill in 2018. Van Laar claimed in an email that she was "coming on board" as Santa Clarita GOP assembly seat candidate Suzette Valladares' campaign manager. Valladares announced she was going to challenge Hill's seat in 2020 but dropped out to join the local race in September.

In a statement to Newsweek, the Suzette Martinez Valladares for Assembly campaign said that Van Laar had not ever worked for Valladares' campaign, and never held the "campaign manager" title.

Van Laar published the breaking story and accompanying photos at RedState and the Daily Mail without any disclosures about her work with Republican opponents of the congresswoman.

Van Laar appeared on Tucker Carlson's show on Wednesday, where he asked if Hill is planning to sue her.

"I hope not, we haven't received any kind of indication from attorneys that she would," she said.

Carlson also asked what her response was to Hill blaming RedState and by association, Van Laar, for what had happened.

"Obviously she's in a bad place right now so I don't want respond in kind, but of course I didn't like being smeared as some kind of revenge porn peddler or vast right-wing conspiracy because that's just simply not what happened," she said.

"I know an awful lot of people on the right, and if any one of them were ever photographed naked smoking a bong with an Iron Cross tattoo in their crotch, you would be on the cover of Newsweek," said Carlson with a laugh.

Correction (10/31, 4:30 p.m.): An earlier version of this article claimed that Van Laar was the campaign manager for Suzette Valladares; this is not the case. Though Van Laar claimed she was joining the campaign in an email, she did not actually work for Valladares.

Katie Hill
"I do think what will happen to whoever distributed the photos is very minor compared to the fact she just lost her whole political career," said victims advocate Charlotte Laws, who helped push California's initial cyber exploitation law. Zach Gibson/Getty