Congresswoman Katie Hill decried the "double standard" that she said prompted her resignation during her final speech on the House floor on Thursday, after nude photos of her were published in several right-leaning outlets. Hill was embroiled in an ethics investigation into whether she had an affair with a congressional staffer, which she denied, although she did acknowledge a consensual relationship with a former campaign staffer.
"I am leaving now because of a double standard," Hill said. "I am leaving because I no longer want to be used as a bargaining chip. I am leaving because I didn't want to be peddled by papers and blogs and websites used by shameless operatives for the dirtiest gutter politics that I have ever seen, and the right wing media to drive clicks and expand their audience by distributing intimate photos of me taken without my knowledge, let alone my consent, for the sexual entertainment of millions."
Hill, who is openly bisexual and in the midst of a contentious divorce, condemned the "misogynistic culture" for enabling her "abusive ex" to continue his abuse by circulating the photographs. She also said that she had received several threats targeting her and people who are close to her.
"Today is the first time that I've left my apartment since the photos, taken without my consent, were released — and I'm scared," Hill acknowledged. She also claimed that people had threatened to release more photos of her "bit by bit" if she stayed in office.
Hill also called out President Trump, who has been accused of sexual misconduct by several women, and once boasted about grabbing women without their consent.
"The forces of revenge by a bitter, jealous man, cyber exploitation and sexual shaming that target our gender, and a large section of society that fears and hates powerful women have combined to push a young women out of power and say that she doesn't belong here," Hill said. "Yet a man who brags about his sexual predation — who's had dozens of women come forward to accuse him of sexual assault, who pushes policies that are uniquely harmful to women ... sits in the highest office in the land."
"Today, as my final act, I voted to move forward with the impeachment of Donald Trump on behalf of the women of America," Hill said.
Hillon Sunday, saying in a statement that "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."
In a letter to her constitutes earlier this week, Hill admitted the relationship with the campaign staffer. "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. She said the relationship had occurred during the last years of what she said was an "abusive" marriage.
Hill defeated Republican Congressman Steve Knight in 2018, flipping the critical California district which encompasses northern Los Angeles County and Simi Valley, home of the Ronald Reagan Library and Museum.
Ed O'Keefe and Rebecca Kaplan contributed to this report