Rep. Katie Hill Resigns: California Democrat to Leave Congress Amid Scandal

katie hill resigns

Getty Rep. Katie Hill.

Rep. Katie Hill has announced she will be resigning from Congress amid an ethics investigation into accusations of improper relationships with a Congressional staffer and a campaign aide and the leak of nude photos that has led to a possible criminal revenge porn investigation. Hill, who was first elected to represent Californias 25th District in 2018, announced her resignation on Twitter on Sunday, October 27.

Hill, 32, was accused by her estranged husband, Kenny Heslep, of having an ongoing affair with her current Congressional aide, Graham Kelly, who is her legislative director. Hill has denied any wrongdoing and had agreed to a House Ethics Committee investigation. Kelly also served on Hill’s campaign.

Hill admitted to having an “inappropriate” relationship with one of her campaign staffers, 24-year-old Morgan Desjardins. She, Heslep and Desjardins were involved in a “throuple” relationship that began around the same time Desjardins joined Hill’s Congressional campaign in 2017. Hill admitted that it was not appropriate for her to be in an intimate relationship with someone who was a subordinate on her campaign. Hill’s statement on that relationship came after a nude photo of her with Desjardins was published by the conservative site Red State. The Daily Mail also published nude photos of Hill, who has accused her husband of leading a smear campaign against her.

“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 wrote.

Hill Says She Is Resigning So ‘the Good People Who Supported Me Will No Longer Be Subjected to the Pain Inflicted by My Abusive Husband’ & ‘the Brutality of Political Operatives

“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,” Hill wrote. “It is also illegal, and we are currently pursuing all of our available legal options. 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.”

Hill, who has been involved in divorce proceedings with her estranged husband since July 2019, added, “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.”

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InstagramRep. Katie Hill (D-CA) and husband Kenny Heslep.

Hill continued, “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. I hope it showed others that they do belong, that their voice does matter, and that they do have a place in this country. This is something that I believe with all my heart.”

Hill concluded,” Those of you who know me personally know that I’m a fighter. And it’s thanks to countless other fighters who supported me that we were able to stand up for the ideals we believe in. 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. Thank you for allowing me to turn my focus to this particular battle right now, and know that I stand with you as we continue to fight for the many important issues that brought me to Congress in the first place. I love this country, I love all of you, and I thank you for allowing me the great honor of serving you.”

A Special Election Will Be Held to Replace Hill

graham kelly katie hill morgan desjardins

Rep. Katie Hill via TwitterGraham Kelly, Katie Hill and Morgan Desjardins

According to Politico’s Heather Caygle, Hill’s resignation could go into effect as early as this coming week, but does not have an effective date.

Hill will be replaced through a special election. The seat is up for election in November 2020. Dave Wasserman of the Cook Political Report tweeted, “Breaking: resignation of Rep. Katie Hill (D) will move #CA25 from Likely D to Lean D at @CookPolitical. Traditionally R but Dem-trending district. More soon…”

Hill flipped the district from Republican to Democratic during the 2018 midterms.

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