Rep. Katie Hill is resigning from Congress after she reportedly admitted to having an “inappropriate” relationship with a campaign staffer.
The 32-year-old, who was a rising star in the House Democratic freshman class, announced her resignation on Twitter Sunday. “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 lengthy statement.
“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 continued.
Her confession came just hours after the House Committee on Ethics announced it was opening an investigation into Hill over separate allegations that she was romantically involved with a congressional staffer, which she denies.
Recently, the conservative website RedState published an article detailing Hill’s relationship with the female campaign staffer — alleging that the relationship was polyamorous between Hill, who identifies as bisexual, the unidentified woman and Hill’s estranged husband, Kenny Heslep. The site also included a nude photo of the representative.
Hill referenced the private photo in her resignation statement, calling it “an appalling invasion of my privacy,” adding: “I know that as long as I am in Congress, we’ll live fearful of what might come next and how much it will hurt. That’s a feeling I know all too well. It’s the feeling I decided to leave when I left my marriage, and one I will not tolerate being forced upon others. I can no longer allow my community, family, friends, staff, supporters, and especially the children who look up to me as a role model, to suffer this unprecedented brand of cruelty.”
In addition to apologizing, Hill said, “I am not a perfect person and never pretended to be.” However, she called herself a “fighter.”
“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,” she said.
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.— Rep. Katie Hill (@RepKatieHill) October 27, 2019
See my official statement below. pic.twitter.com/nG97RQIwvO
Hill notified U.S. Capitol Police and they have launched an investigation into the source of the private photo.
In prior statements, Hill denied allegations she had engaged in a sexual relationship with her congressional staffer, Graham Kelly — which would be a violation of House chamber rules. The House Committee on Ethics is investigating the claim.
Kelly told PEOPLE he had no comment on the allegations or investigation at this time.