Ocasio-Cortez: 'Major crime' against Katie Hill will deter other female candidates

Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-CortezAlexandria Ocasio-CortezNew York City issues Monday night curfew amid protests Engel primary challenger drops out, endorses fellow challenger Trump says he will designate antifa a terrorist organization MORE (D-N.Y.) says fellow freshman Rep. Katie HillKatherine (Katie) Lauren HillThe Hill's Morning Report - Presented by The American Investment Council - Trump takes his 'ready to reopen' mantra on the road The Hill's Campaign Report: Democrat concedes in California House race Republican flips House seat in California special election MORE (D-Calif.), who is resigning her seat citing a series of explicit photographs published in conservative outlets, was the victim of a "major crime" that could deter other young women from running for office.

Hill is the subject of an ethics investigation into allegations of an affair with a staffer in her congressional office, but she specifically cited the photographs, the release of which she attributes to her estranged husband, in her resignation announcement. She has denied the affair but conceded a relationship with a campaign staffer, which does not violate House rules.

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“I don't think we’re really talking about how targeted and serious this is. We're talking about a major crime ... being committed against her,” Ocasio-Cortez told Politico, saying “of course” the incident will intimidate other women thinking of launching their own campaigns.

“This doesn't happen to male members in the same way — revenge porn in this respect. It’s horrific,” Ocasio-Cortez added.

So-called revenge porn is illegal in both Washington and California, and Hill has suggested her husband is prepared to release hundreds more photographs of her.

GOP Rep. Matt GaetzMatthew (Matt) GaetzTwitter restricts tweet from Gaetz for glorifying violence Trump signs order targeting social media firms' legal protections Trump to order review of law protecting social media firms after Twitter spat: report MORE (Fla.), who has repeatedly defended Hill amid the fallout from the pictures, said older members of Congress did not understand how many of their younger colleagues could have similar moments used against them.

“A lot of these baby boomers I serve with don’t understand that millennials, by virtue of having smartphones, have shared stupid moments and regrettable moments for a substantial portion of their lives,” Gaetz told Politico.

Speaker Nancy PelosiNancy PelosiTrump praises 'domination' of DC protesters Pelosi, Schumer say treatment of protesters outside White House 'dishonors every value that faith teaches us' Democrats call for Congress to take action following death of George Floyd MORE (D-Calif.), asked in a Thursday press conference whether Hill should have resigned, said, “Katie Hill’s decision to resign is her decision,” but added “she is an absolutely outstanding young public servant.”

Pelosi was less sympathetic in a private leadership meeting, saying “it goes to show you, we should say to young candidates, and to kids in kindergarten, really, be careful when transmitting photos," according to Politico, citing two Democratic sources with knowledge of the meeting.