Rep. Katie Hill resigns amid ethics probe into reported affair with staffer

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Katie Hill

FILE – In this Nov. 6, 2018 file photo, Katie Hill, then a Democratic Party candidate from California’s 25th Congressional district, talks to a reporter after voting in her hometown of Agua Dulce, Calif. She won the election, flipping a traditional GOP stronghold. Now, U.S. Rep. Hill, D-Calif., has apologized to friends and supporters for engaging in an inappropriate affair with a campaign staffer, but she still let down Susan Slates, a fellow Democrat, who said she was “disappointed,” but quickly jumped to Hill’s defense, saying anything she did pales in comparison to what’s she’s witnessed under President Donald Trump. (AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez, File)

(FOX) — Rep. Katie Hill, D-Calif., announced her resignation Sunday after a string of reports shining a negative light on her personal life, including a reported affair with her legislative director that sparked a House Ethics Committee investigation.

Hill tweeted on Sunday evening, “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.”

On Thursday, the political fallout for Hill escalated as more compromising photos of the freshman lawmaker surfaced amid a House Ethics Committee inquiry into her behavior.

The Daily Mail on Thursday published one photo of what appeared to be Hill undressed and holding a bong, and another of her kissing a staff worker on her congressional campaign, who was reportedly involved in a “throuple” relationship with Hill and Hill’s husband, Kenny Heslep.

The new photos emerged shortly after the conservative website RedState.org posted screenshots of several text messages between Hill and the staffer detailing the reported end of their three-person relationship earlier this year and reported on intimate pictures including a nude photo of Hill brushing the staffer’s hair.

According to the texts that were shown, Hill wanted to focus on her work and suggested that “political risk” was a factor.

Fox News has not verified the authenticity of the photos.

Hill also released an official statement on Sunday writing, “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.”

Hill, an openly bisexual congresswoman and the vice chairwoman of the powerful House Oversight Committee, admitted Wednesday she had an “inappropriate” relationship with a female campaign staffer.

The California Democrat did not immediately respond to Fox News’ request for comment. However, in a letter sent to constituents on Wednesday and obtained by Fox News, Hill acknowledged that in the final years of what she called an “abusive marriage,” she began a relationship with the unnamed campaign staffer.

Heslep filed for divorce from Hill earlier this year.

“I am going through a divorce from an abusive husband who seems determined to try to humiliate me,” Hill said in her statement last week. “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 the 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.”

RedState also reported earlier this month that Hill had an extramarital affair with Graham Kelly, her legislative director and former campaign finance director, for at least a year. Heslep was said to have shared his own screenshot of a text exchange he had with a friend who had heard about the affair; it was later deleted from his Facebook account.

The reported affair with a congressional staffer prompted the House Ethics Committee investigation.

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