Freshman Congresswoman Katie Hill of Santa Clarita announced Sunday that she will be resigning her seat as she faces a House Ethics Committee probe into accusations that she had a sexual relationship with a member of her congressional staff, a charge she denies.
“It is with a broken heart that today I announce my resignation from Congress. 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.”
The accusation that Hill had an affair with her legislative director, Graham Kelly, seems to have stemmed from her estranged husband Kenny Heslep; the source of intimate images of Hill that were published by a conservative website has not been identified. Some—including Hill—consider these images to be “revenge porn,” although it’s unclear whether the images would qualify under California law.
Hill wrote in her resignation letter, “This is what needs to happen so that the good people who supported me will no longer be subjected to the pain inflicted on me by my abusive husband and by hateful political operatives who seem to happily provide a platform to a monster who is driving a smear campaign built on cyber exploitation.”
“It is also illegal,” she notes, “and we are currently pursuing all of our available legal options.”
It is with a broken heart that today I announce my resignation from Congress. 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.
See my official statement below. pic.twitter.com/nG97RQIwvO
— Rep. Katie Hill (@RepKatieHill) October 27, 2019
Hill, the only openly bisexual member of the House, also admitted that she and her husband had a relationship with a female campaign worker, and recently apologized for it as the ten-day scandal grew, but that affair is not grounds for dismissal, which lead some of Hill’s fellow Reps. to have her back.
This is just absurd. The only person who seems to have a gripe is @RepKatieHill’s soon-to-be ex.
Who among us would look perfect if every ex leaked every photo/text?
Katie isn’t being investigated by Ethics or maligned because she hurt anyone – it is because she is different. https://t.co/Czrc2k8z8X
— Matt Gaetz (@mattgaetz) October 24, 2019
And though Hill helped Nancy Pelosi gain the Speakership when she crushed GOP incumbent Steve Knight in 2018, Pelosi was in a scoldy mood Sunday evening, writing in a statement, “Congresswoman Katie Hill came to Congress with a powerful commitment to her community and a bright vision for the future, and has made a great contribution as a leader of the Freshman Class. She has acknowledged errors in judgment that made her continued service as a Member untenable. We must ensure a climate of integrity and dignity in the Congress, and in all workplaces.”
Hill is expected to officially step down by Friday, but she’s vowed to focus her energy on fighting cyber exploitation.
Stay on top of the latest in L.A. food and culture. Sign up for our newsletters today.