Rep. Katie Hill (D-Santa Clarita) of California, the only openly bisexual member of the House of Representatives, recently came under investigation due to “allegations she had an improper relationship with a congressional staffer.”
Hill was accused of having a sexual relationship with her legislative director, Graham Kelly, and a female campaign staff member.
Hill denies any relationship with Kelly, but in a letter to constituents on Wednesday admitted to becoming involved with the campaign staff member during “during the final tumultuous years of my abusive marriage.”
Hill has been in divorce proceedings with her husband of nine years, Kenneth Heslep.
“I know that even a consensual relationship with a subordinate is inappropriate, but I still allowed it to happen despite my better judgment,” Hill wrote to her constituents. “For that, I apologize.”
“It is with a broken heart that today I announce my resignation from Congress,” Hill wrote in a letter shared on Twitter. “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.”
“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 added.
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
It was just last weekend when conservative website RedState reported that Hill and her husband had, until recently, been involved in a sexual relationship with a staffer in her 20s who worked on Hill’s campaign.
RedState posted explicit images purporting to be of Hill and the staffer. Hill subsequently told The Hill, a political news outlet, that the U.S. Capitol Police were investigating how the photo was obtained and published by RedState.
“Intimate photos of me and another individual were published by Republican operatives on the internet without my consent,” Hill said at the time.
That was followed by RedState releasing text messages that appeared to be between Hill’s husband, Heslep, and the campaign staffer.
In response to the #MeToo movement and high-profile sexual harassment accusations involving members of Congress, the House adopted rules last year that prohibited members from having sexual relationships with congressional staffers. Those rules do not, however, address any relationships that occurred prior to members taking office.
Hill has been viewed as a ‘rising star’ in the Democratic Party having flipped her district to blue when she won her election in 2018.
She is the vice-chair of the House Oversight Committee, and she is among a group of freshman Democrats who were nicknamed the “Big Six” after being selected for high-profile leadership posts.