Rep. Katie Hill resigns amid House Ethics Committee investigation

Former Rep. Katie Hill, D-Agua Dulce, fields questions from KABC's Amy Powell during a town hall event in Palmdale in January 2019. Austin Dave/The Signal

After weeks of mounting rumors regarding allegations about her personal life, following leaks of personal pictures and text messages that led to a House Ethics Committee investigation, Rep. Katie Hill, D-Agua Dulce, announced her resignation Sunday.

Hill announced in a tweet Sunday afternoon at 4:03 p.m.:

“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.” 

Emily Burns, her chief of staff, was not immediately available for comment. 

When reached by phone Sunday afternoon, Hill said she wasn’t planning to resign at the beginning of the leaks of personal pictures and texts, but it became clear there were “hundreds of pictures and texts” that were being threatened to leak.

“They’ve made it clear that this is their purpose — to force me to resign, and I want to make sure I can do it in a way that allows me to do it with some shred of dignity and allow me to continue to work in my community,” she said. 

Once that became clear to Hill, she said she held a meeting with her team and was planning to work with House leadership to wrap up her congressional work.

“I had just told my staff,” Hill said Sunday. She said she did not have a definitive date for when her last day would be, as of Sunday. 

Hill said the incident left her terrified for future women who might want to run for office.

“I think this is the barrier that made it impossible for me to continue successfully,” she said, referencing the as-yet unleaked photos, and what she called cyberbullying in reference to nude photos of her that had been leaked on the internet, and stories regarding an affair with a staffer, which she again denied Sunday, which prompted a House Ethics Committee investigation last week. 

It was clear in conversation with Hill she believed the divorce proceedings she was in the midst of were related to the leaks. However, she said despite the initial leaks, she was ready to continue until it became clear there was much more coming. 

“‘OK, they’ve done it, what else can there be?’” she said, describing her initial reaction in discussion with the team. “And then we literally find out that there’s been hundreds more.”

She said she was surprised the personal attacks didn’t come out during what she described as one of the most expensive campaigns, considering the national attention on the race. Hill became the first Democrat to represent the 25th Congressional District in 2018, after it was held by Republicans for more than 26 years. She said she planned to help Democrats keep the seat after she stepped down. 

“It’s unprecedented,” she said, in reference to the leaks. “It’s something that I can’t operate under.”

Additional details to follow. 

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