Rep. Katie Hill said Sunday that she is resigning from Congress amid an ethics investigation into unproven claims that she had a relationship with one of her congressional staff members after being sworn into office.
“It is with a broken heart that today I announce my resignation from Congress,” the California Democrat said in a written statement Sunday evening. “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.”
Hill’s statement was released shortly after Politico reported the news of her resignation.
On Wednesday, the same day the House Ethics probe was announced, Hill, who is going through a divorce, admitted to having an inappropriate relationship with a campaign staffer while she was running for Congress. She denied the allegations about having an affair with a congressional staffer after she took office.
She apologized for the relationship in a letter she sent to her constituents:
“During the final tumultuous years of my abusive marriage, I became involved in a relationship with someone on my campaign,” Hill said in the letter. “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.”
Hill’s personal life has been thrust into the spotlight after a conservative blog published intimate photos of Hill and claimed that the lawmaker and her husband had been in a polyamorous relationship prior to their divorce.
“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 the statement announcing her resignation.
Hill said the photos were published by “Republican operatives on the internet” without her consent and called for those responsible to be “punished to the full extent of the law.”
On Thursday, more photos surfaced allegedly showing Hill nude and with her former campaign aide.
While members of Congress are prohibited from having a sexual relationship with congressional staffers whom they supervise, there are no ethics restrictions prohibiting the relationship Hill admitted to having with a campaign aide.
“Those of you who know me personally know that I’m a fighter. And it’s thanks to countless other fighters who supported me that we were able to stand up for the ideals we believe in,” Hill said. “Now, my fight is going to be to defeat this type of exploitation that so many women are victims to and which will keep countless women and girls from running for office or entering public light.”
Hill was vice chair of the House Oversight Committee at the time of her resignation.
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) said Sunday that Hill came to Congress “with a powerful commitment to her community and a bright vision for her future,” but that the freshman lawmaker’s decision to resign is an appropriate one.
“She has acknowledged errors in judgment that made her continued service as a Member untenable,” Pelosi said of Hill in a statement. “We must ensure a climate of integrity and dignity in the Congress, and in all workplaces.”