Politics

After resigning from Congress, Katie Hill vows to battle ‘revenge porn’

Freshman Rep. Katie Hill (D-Calif.), said over the weekend she would be resigning from Congress in lieu of a scandal and an ethics investigation into allegations of a sexual relationship with a congressional aide.

“It is with a broken heart that today I announce my resignation from Congress,” Hill said in a statement. “This is the hardest thing I have ever had to do, but I believe it is the best thing for my constituents, my community and our country.”

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi told Politico that Hill said she made “errors in judgement that made her continued service as a member untenable.” Hill is expected to resign from Congress by week’s end.

Hill’s announced resignation comes on the heels of a House Ethics Committee probe into allegations the congresswoman had a sexual relationship with Graham Kelly, her legislative director.

Hill has denied the allegations and told the panel she would cooperate with its investigation.

RedState, a conservative blog, first reported the allegations including screenshots of text messages and a nude photo revealing that she had been in a relationship with a female campaign staffer, one which allegedly also included her husband.

Hill is openly bisexual; she is currently in divorce proceedings with her husband of nine years, Kenneth Heslep.

She has admitted to a relationship with a campaign staffer but not with Kelly.

“During the final tumultuous years of my abusive marriage, I became involved in a relationship with someone on my campaign,” Hill said in a letter to her constituents last week. “I know that even a consensual relationship with a subordinate is inappropriate, but I still allowed it to happen despite my better judgment. For that I apologize.”

She has threatened legal action following publication by The Daily Mail in the UK of nude photo and other images following the Red State posting.

She says she is the victim of a “smear campaign” by Heslep, whom she also claimed “seems determined to try to humiliate me.” Hill said that she was resigning in order to stop any further exploitation by others.

“This is what needs to happen so that the good people who supported me will no longer be subjected to the pain inflicted by my abusive husband and the brutality of hateful political operatives who seem to happily provide a platform to a monster who is driving a smear campaign built around cyber exploitation,” she said in a statement.

“Having private photos of personal moments weaponized against me has been an appalling invasion of my privacy,” she wrote. “It’s also illegal, and we are currently pursuing all of our available legal options. However, I know that as long as I am in Congress, we’ll live fearful of what might come next and how much it will hurt.

“That’s a feeling I know all too well,” she added. “It’s the feeling I decided to leave when I left my marriage, and one I will not tolerate being forced upon others. I can no longer allow my community, family, friends, staff, supporters and especially the children who look up to me as a role model, to suffer this unprecedented brand of cruelty.”

Hill managed to become the first Democrat in 26 years to win her Orange County, Calif., district.

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