CONGRESSWOMAN Katie Hill has announced that she will resign following a sex saga that has played out in public.
Hill, a Democrat of California, faced a House ethics investigation into allegations that she had a sexual relationship with a member of her congressional staff, a violation of House rules.
Democratic Congresswoman Katie Hill, who is being investigated by the House Ethics Committee over her alleged relationship with a staffer, announced on Sunday that she would resign[/caption]
Leaked photos appeared to show Congresswoman Hill kissing 24-year-old Morgan Desjardins, of Santa Clarita, California[/caption]
Katie Hill, 32, has said she is currently in the process of divorcing her husband, Kenny Heslep, who was reportedly part of a ‘throuple’ with Hill and Desjardins[/caption]
The 32-year-old made the announcement on Sunday, saying she made the decision “with a broken heart” and that explicit private photos of her with a campaign staffer had been “weaponised” by her husband and political operatives.
In a statement, Hill said: “Having private photos of personal moments weaponised 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,” adding, “However, 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.”
The statement also read: “For the mistakes made along the way and the people who have been hurt, I am so sorry, and I am learning.
“I am not a perfect person and never pretended to be. It’s one of the things that made my race so special.”
Hill will resign after less than 10 months in office, having been seen as a rising star within the Democratic Party.
She received plaudits for being an openly bisexual progressive who flipped a Los Angeles County seat that was previously Republican, and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi picked the 32-year-old for a coveted leadership seat.
Hill – who did not say when she would step down – is also vice chair of the powerful House Oversight Committee.
Last week, however, the House Ethics Committee announced that it would investigate claims that Hill was intimately involved with a member of her congressional staff.
That saga began to play out in public, after the conservative news website RedState accused Hill of twice violating House rules against sex with subordinates.
RedState reported that Hill’s estranged husband, Kenneth Heslep, who she is divorcing, had posted on a now-deleted Facebook account that Hill had been “sleeping with her [male] finance director for the past year at least.”
Heslep was referring to legislative staffer Graham Kelly, RedState reported, and in another post he apparently wrote, “I didn’t file for divorce bc she was bi!”
Hill continues to vehemently deny having an affair with Kelly, 31, but last Wednesday, the House Ethics Committee said it was investigating allegations that she had a sexual relationship with a member of her congressional staff.
Then, on Thursday, the Daily Mail released an image of a naked Hill appearing to hold a bong and with a questionable iron cross tattoo near her midriff.
Also released was an image of Hill kissing a female staffer, Morgan Desjardins, 24, of Santa Clarita, California.
It was claimed that Heslep had no issues with Hill’s relationship with Desjardins, as he too was a willing participant.
Leaked photos and text messages appeared to show what was, for more than a year, a polyamorous three-way relationship between Hill, Heslep and Desjardin, a claimed supported by images such as Hill seeming to brush Desjardin’s hair while naked.
Hill called off the relationship in May, reports said, four months after she moved to DC.
The congresswoman had accused such accounts as being a “smear campaign” against her, but in a letter to her constituents, she eventually acknowledged the relationship.
She wrote: “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 apologise. I wish nothing but the best for her and hope everyone respects her privacy in this difficult time.”
Lawmakers have come under intense criticism for being slow to update Capitol Hill’s rules on sexual harassment but finally passed an ethics change last year that, among other steps, banned lawmakers from having sexual relationships with staff aides.
Meanwhile, supporters of Hill said that she had become a victim of “revenge porn” – which is illegal under California law.
Hill, whose lawyer filed a cease-and-desist letter to the Daily Mail, which still has the images on its website, has asked U.S. Capitol Police to investigate potential legal violations for posting and distributing the photos online without her consent.
On Saturday, it was reported that Graham Kelly had received a $5,100 “2018 campaign bonus” in April, making him one of only four campaign workers to receive bonuses, starting at $2,700.
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According to reports, Kelly’s bonus was the highest.
Hill is currently divorcing her husband, Heslep, and says he is abusive.
While not providing any evidence of abuse, Hill says she turned elsewhere for companionship because of their turbulent relationship.