Katie Hill pledges to fight 'revenge porn' after leaving Congress

Rep. Katie HillKatherine (Katie) Lauren HillObama announces first wave of 2020 endorsements Republicans face worsening outlook in battle for House The Hill's Campaign Report: Cook shifts 20 House races toward Democrats MORE (D-Calif.) said she will fight "revenge porn" when she leaves Congress after websites published nude photos of her along with reports alleging she had improper relationships with members of her campaign and congressional staffs.  

“As I have before, I will stand up for those who can not stand up for themselves because there is one thing that I know for sure: I will not allow my experience to scare off other young women or girls from running for office,” Hill said in a video released Monday, a day after the first-term congresswoman announced she would be resigning.

“For the sake of all of us we cannot let that happen,” she added.

ADVERTISEMENT

Hill resigned amid the allegations and subsequent House ethics probe. 

She denied having a relationship with her congressional staff member, which would be in violation of House rules, but admitted that she and her husband, whom she is divorcing, had a consensual, sexual relationship with a member of her campaign staff. 

RedState, a conservative news website which first reported the allegations, and the Daily Mail both published nude photos of Hill without her consent. 

Hill’s attorneys sent a cease and desist letter to the Daily Mail last week.

“I will fight to ensure that no one else has to live through what I just experienced,” Hill said. “Some people call this electronic assault, digital exploitation, others call it revenge porn. As the victim of it, I call it one of the worst things we can do to our sister and our daughters.” 

Hill did not elaborate in her statement on what measures she plans to take to fight revenge porn. 

Hill blamed her husband, “right wing media” and Republican opponents on what she called a “smear campaign.”

“I made this decision so that my supporters, my family, my staff and our community will no longer be subjected to the pain inflicted by my abusive husband and the brutality of hateful political operatives,” she said. 

Hill said those involved in the “coordinated campaign” that gave her husband a platform to perpetuate his abuse will be held accountable. 

“But I will not allow myself to be a distraction from the constitutional crisis were faced with and the critical work of my colleagues. So I have to take my personal life outside the halls of Congress ... I can not let this horrible smear campaign get in the way of this work,” Hill said.

Hill flipped a GOP-held seat in 2018. A handful of Republicans had already launched campaigns ahead of Hill’s resignation. 

California state Assemblywoman Christy Smith, a Democrat, announced her bid for Hill’s seat Monday. In her announcement, Smith commended Hill for her service and her “willingness to put country first by stepping down from office.”