Freshman Rep. Katie Hill is resigning amid an ethics investigation over an allegedly inappropriate relationship with a staffer.
In a letter posted on Twitter, the Southern California Democrat attributed the resignation to an “abusive” estranged husband and “hateful political operatives” who she said were “driving a smear campaign built around cyber exploitation.”
Her resignation was first reported by Politico.
The House Ethics Committee investigation of Hill, who was elected in last year’s mid-terms, began after the conservative site Red State reported unconfirmed allegations about her personal life and posted a photo of her that it labeled “explicit.”
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She described the image as an “illegal” and “appalling invasion of privacy” that had been “weaponized” against her.
“We are currently pursuing all of our available legal options,” she said. “However, I know that as long as I am in Congress, we’ll live fearful of what might come next.”
She added that she could no longer allow friends and supporters to “suffer this unprecedented brand of cruelty.”
Last week, Hill apologized after admitting that she had a relationship with someone on her campaign. But she denied that the affair was with a staff member.
“I know that even a consensual relationship with a subordinate is inappropriate, but I still allowed it to happen despite my better judgment,” Hill said. “For that I apologize.”
Hill, who was the executive director of a homeless services organization before her election, is the freshman class’ co-representative to the Democratic Caucus’ leadership meetings.
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s office did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
Alexandra Moe contributed.