Oct. 27 (UPI) -- Democratic freshman Rep. Katie Hill announced her resignation from Congress on Sunday amid allegations she engaged in an inappropriate relationship with a staffer.
"It is with a broken heart that today I announce my resignation from Congress," she said in a statement. "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."
News of Hill's resignation came days after the House Committee on Ethics announced it had opened an investigation into allegations that Hill, D-Calif., engaged in an inappropriate sexual relationship with a congressional staffer in violation of House rules.
The scandal erupted earlier this month when a conservative blog published intimate photos of Hill, alleging she and her husband had a relationship with a woman who worked on her election campaign and that she had a more recent relationship with a male staffer.
Last week, she denied the most recent allegation concerning the male staff member, but admitted to having had a relationship with the campaign staffer and apologized for it while blaming the scandal on Kenny Heslep, her husband of nine years. They are in the process of divorcing.
"I am going through a divorce from an abusive husband who seems determined to try to humiliate me," she said. "I am disgusted that my opponents would seek to exploit such a private matter for political gain."
In her letter Sunday, she said her resignation was to protect those who supported her from "the pain inflicted by my abusive husband and brutality of hateful political operatives."
"Having private photos of personal moments weaponized against me has been an appalling invasion of my privacy," she said. "It's also illegal, and we are currently pursuing all of our legal options."
She did not say when she will step down.
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., said in a statement that Hill, who was elected during the 2018 midterms, made "a great contribution" as a freshman congressional leader but that "we must ensure a climate of integrity and dignity in the Congress and in all workplaces.
"She has acknowledged errors in judgment that made her continued services as a member untenable," Pelosi said.