When allegations surfaced against Rep. Katie Hill (D-Calif.) that she was engaged in improper sexual relationships with staffers, she denied the accusations, blaming her "abusive husband" — and the mainstream media covered for Hill.
Now, the Democratic freshman lawmaker, less than 10 months into her first term in Congress, is resigning.
"It is with a broken heart that today I announce my resignation from Congress," Hill said in a statement Sunday. "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."
News of Hill's resignation comes days after the House Ethics Committee initiated an investigation into allegations that Hill was engaged in a sexual relationship with her legislative director. Such relationships — between lawmakers and their staffers — are strictly prohibited under congressional ethics rules.
Hill, the first openly bisexual member of Congress, was a rising star in the Democratic Party, even assuming the powerful role of vice chair on the House Oversight Committee. But her demise came just as quick as her rise to prominence.
Conservative blog RedState first reported just 10 days ago that Hill and her husband, Kenny Heslep, were involved in a three-way "throuple" relationship with a young female campaign staffer. RedState also reported that Hill was actively involved in a sexual relationship with Graham Kelly, her legislative director. RedState obtained text messages and photos backing the allegations.
Hill, 32, initially denied that she had an improper relationship with Kelly, but admitted to the relationship with the campaign staffer. She then tried to reframe the story as her being a victim of "revenge porn" — which she called a "crime" — because nude photos of her, which attested to the allegations, had been published. She also blamed her "abusive husband" for the allegations; she and Heslep are currently going through a bitter divorce.
The situation turned from bad to worse for Hill last Thursday when the Daily Mail published numerous additional troubling allegations and photos of Hill, including one of Hill holding a bong used to smoke marijuana while nude. Hill responded by threatening to sue the Daily Mail for publishing the photos.
In her resignation statement, Hill refused to take responsibility for her scandal, instead blaming her "abusive husband" and "political operatives."
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. Having private photos of personal moments weaponized against me has been an appalling invasion of my privacy. It's also illegal, and we are currently pursuing all of our available legal options.
Hill is expected to officially vacate her office sometime next week. She is the first female member of Congress to resign over allegations of improper sexual relationships, the Washington Examiner reported.