Rep. Katie Hill, D-Santa Clarita, resigned Sunday over allegations she had a relationship with a member of her staff.
“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,” Hill said in a written statement obtained by City News Service.
“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.”
Los Angeles County Democratic Party Chair Mark Gonzalez lamented Hill’s recommendation. “We are sorry to lose a good public servant in Congresswoman Katie Hill. We thank her for putting her district first over the personal attacks that have been levied her way.
“We do not condone this kind of behavior from anyone and most of all, our elected leaders. No one in any profession should live in fear of having intimate and deeply personal moments used as weapons against them.
“As Democrats, we are proud to stand against sexual harassment of any kind and we have procedures in place to protect all. We will continue to fight for progress and justice for our communities.”
Former representative Steve Knight, whom Hill unseated last November, posted the following statement on his campaign page: “I am looking to run and am thankful for all the calls encouraging me to return to Congress.”
Former naval officer and Republican, Mike Garcia, who announced his candidacy before Hill’s troubles surfaced, released a statement of his own, saying, “Katie Hill did the right thing by resigning from Congress. The past week has been a complete distraction from the important work that needs to be done, and it’s time for our district to move forward and unite around a leader.”
Another previously declared GOP candidate, Mark Cripe, tweeted that he would be “honored and privileged” to represent the district. He issued a statement saying that Sunday’s news “affords California’s 25th District an opportunity to move forward in a positive direction, with new representation that better hears and supports all the families of the Antelope, Santa Clarita and Simi valleys.”
The House Ethics Committee announced Wednesday that it had begun an investigation into Hill, who issued a statement Tuesday calling the allegation “absolutely false.”
“The fact is I am going through a divorce from an abusive husband who seems determined to try to humiliate me,” Hill said. “I am disgusted that my opponents would seek to exploit such a private matter for political gain. This coordinated effort to try to destroy me and people close to me is despicable and will not succeed.
“I, like many women who have faced attacks like this before, am stronger than those who want me to be afraid.”
Hill said in the statement she had contacted U.S. Capitol Police after intimate photos of her and another person were published by the conservative website RedState, images she said were “published by Republican operatives on the internet without my consent.”
RedState published a series of articles over the last week alleging Hill was involved in relationships with a campaign staffer and, separately, a congressional staff member. Text messages purportedly between Hill, the campaign aide and her husband were published by site on Tuesday.
Hill called the articles a “smear campaign.”
According to the Los Angeles Times, Hill sent a letter to constituents Wednesday acknowledging a relationship with a member of her campaign staff.
“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 in the letter.
She also said she was cooperating with the House Ethics Committee.
The House voted in 2018 to prohibit sexual relationships between lawmakers and their employees.
Hill defeated then-Rep. Steve Knight, R-Palmdale, in November to represent the 25th Congressional District, which includes Santa Clarita Valley, and portions of the northern San Fernando Valley, Antelope Valley and eastern Ventura County.
Hill was California’s first openly bisexual member of Congress.