SANTA CLARITA (CNS) - Rep. Katie Hill, D-Santa Clarita, who announced her resignation amid a probe into an alleged relationship with a staff member and the online publication of explicit photos of the congresswoman, gave her final speech on the House floor today, blaming political opponents and a ``misogynistic culture'' for sealing her fate.
``I'm leaving now because of a double standard,'' Hill said. ``I'm leaving because I no longer want to be used as a bargaining chip. I'm 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've ever seen, and the right-wing media to drive clicks and expand their audience by distributing intimate photographs of me taken without my knowledge -- let alone my consent --
for the sexual entertainment of millions.''
The House Ethics Committee announced last week that it had begun an investigation into Hill over allegations that she had a relationship with one of her staffers. Hill has denied the allegation, although she conceded having a relationship with a female member of her campaign staff -- a relationship that was apparently shared with her now-estranged husband.
In the past week, intimate photos of Hill -- California's first openly bisexual member of Congress -- and the female campaign staffer surfaced on the conservative website RedState. Hill said last week she had contacted U.S. Capitol Police about the photos, saying they were ``published by Republican operatives on the internet without my consent.''
Hill, 32, has repeatedly blamed her husband for the public release of the photos. While speaking in Congress Thursday, Hill decried a ``misogynistic culture that gleefully consumed my naked pictures, capitalized on my sexuality and enabled my abusive ex to continue that abuse, this time with the entire country watching.''
Hill is expected to formally step down from her congressional seat on Friday.
The 25th Congressional District includes Santa Clarita Valley, and portions of the northern San Fernando Valley, Antelope Valley and eastern Ventura County.