Rep. Katie Hill Resigns Amid Allegations

Rep.+Katie+Hill+Resigns+Amid+Allegations

Tiffany Zhu, Staff Writer

Allegations of an inappropriate relationship with a congressional aide and the publication of nude photos ended Rep. Katie Hill’s ( D-Santa Clarita ) congressional career. Hill played a major role in securing a Democratic House majority by defeating two-term incumbent Steve Knight. On Oct. 27, she announced her resignation. 

In 2018, the House adopted new rules that banned relationships between its members and staff. These new rules were written to hold members accountable to cases of harassment. The rules were passed in response to the #MeToo movement. In 2006, activist Tarana Burke started the #MeToo campaign to empower victims of sexual assault and abuse.  

This controversy started when the website RedState published Hill’s husband, Kenneth Heslep’s comments accusing his wife of having an extramarital affair with congressional legislative director, Graham Kelly. She denied this claim. However, in a letter, she admitted to being involved with a member of her campaign staff. “I know that even a consensual relationship with a subordinate is inappropriate, but I still allowed it to happen despite my better judgment,” she wrote.

 In her resignation letter, she blamed her husband for ending her career. According to Hill, “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.”Hill is currently in divorce proceeding with Heslep. She encouraged authorities to punish her husband “to the full extent of the law.” 

Hill’s colleagues praised her for her decision to step down amid allegations. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, a mentor to Hill, responded to these accusations by saying that “she has acknowledged errors in judgment that made her continued service as a member untenable.” Rep. Harley Rouda (D- Laguna Beach) said, “Hill ‘acknowledged her errors in judgement and is resigning because she values integrity, decency, and accountability.’” 

On Oct. 28, Hill posted a video on her social media accounts, pledging to prevent future situations where intimate photos could be leaked. “My fight is not over,” she said. “I will fight to make sure that no one else has to live through what I just experienced.”

Hill’s resignation forces Democrats to find a new candidate to maintain Democratic majority in the House. Republicans pledge to win back the seat. The most likely outcome is that there will be an election to fill Hill’s seat. California law gives Gov. Gavin Newsom two weeks after a vacancy opens up to set a date for the election.

Photo courtesy of ABCNEWS.COM