California Rep. Katie Porter, a Democratic candidate for Senate, is facing renewed scrutiny over her ex-husband’s domestic abuse allegations, which included a claim that the congresswoman dumped a pot of “steaming hot potatoes” on his head.
Porter has repeatedly denied the abuse allegations, which her then-husband Matt Hoffman made amid a contentious separation and divorce process in 2012 and 2013. But the accusations bubbled back to the surface after multiple former Porter staffers blew the whistle on what they described as Porter’s toxic, emotionally abusive management style.
The California Democrat made her survival of domestic abuse a cornerstone of her political persona as she ascended to the House of Representatives. She published a book on Tuesday, delving into her relationship with her ex-husband.
Divorce documents from 2013 obtained by Fox News Digital revealed domestic abuse allegations between Porter and her then-husband, Matt Hoffman, amid their separation when they were still living together.
California Rep. Katie Porter, a Democrat, denied the domestic abuse allegations levied by her ex-husband in 2013 that included dumping “steaming hot potatoes” on his head. (Andrew Harnik/Pool via REUTERS)
The divorce documents reveal Porter, who is running to replace outgoing Senator Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif., in the national legislature’s upper chamber, and Hoffman both filed domestic abuse restraining orders against each other.
Hoffman alleged that Porter hit him “in the arm causing a large bruise,” dumped boiling potatoes on his head, and ridiculed him as “too dumb” to have a cell phone. He said that the congresswoman “waited all day, then called the police” and “made false allegations” against him 11 hours after a confrontation while brushing their teeth the day the police were called to their residence.
Hoffman was arrested by police on charges of battery when the police arrived at their residence after the confrontation in April 2013. Porter requested the temporary restraining order the next day.
Porter’s spokesperson, Lindsay Reilly, told Fox News Digital that on “the morning of the hearing on Porter’s request for a temporary restraining order following documented violence by her then-husband, her then-husband’s lawyer filed a reciprocal request for protection.”
“This common defensive tactic is designed to intimidate a victim,” Reilly said. “Her then-husband later admitted, as evidenced by the attached document, that ‘he regretted making these allegations.’”
“Porter’s then-husband’s allegation was not supported by any evidence, other than his false and later retracted statement,” she continued.
Porter’s spokesperson, Lindsay Reilly, told Fox News Digital that on “the morning of the hearing on Porter’s request for a temporary restraining order following documented violence by her then-husband, her then-husband’s lawyer filed a reciprocal request for protection.” (Mario Tama/Getty Images)
“Porter’s account was supported by police accounts, a doctor’s recommendation after a child custody evaluation, her sole request for a move out order and property control, and ultimately a judge’s decision granting her majority physical custody,” Reilly added.
Documents obtained by Fox News Digital said Hoffman regretted making the allegations against Porter in a court-ordered child custody evaluation, but it doesn’t specify whether his regret was due to a lack of veracity or another reason.
Fox News Digital reached out to Hoffman asking whether he recanted his allegations against the congresswoman but received no response.
Porter and Hoffman separated in March 2013 and continued to live with each other until their divorce was finalized in December of that year, but the two alleged abuse from each other while living together during their separation.
Divorce filings obtained by Fox News Digital included 2012 allegations from Hoffman that Porter shattered a glass coffee pot after becoming angry over their dirty house, causing him to cut his hands and arms.
Hoffman also alleged that, while married, the congresswoman frequently berated him as a “f—ing idiot” and “f—ing incompetent” and dumped “steaming hot potatoes” on his head during a 2006 confrontation.
“She would not let me have a cell phone because she said, ‘You’re too f***ing dumb to operate it,” Hoffman said, in comments first resurfaced by the Daily Mail this week.
In her restraining order, Porter alleged Hoffman swore at her and called her names and “grabbed both [of her] hands and squeezed” during the April 2013 confrontation that led to his arrest.
The congresswoman also alleged that Hoffman had used his elbow to push her aside after rushing toward her, causing her to stumble and catch herself on a nearby bookshelf.
In her restraining order, Porter alleged that Hoffman had sworn at her and called her names and “grabbed both [of her] hands and squeezed” during the April 2013 confrontation that led to his arrest. (Getty Images)
Porter said she went to find her daughter during the altercation and that Hoffman had yelled at her that she “was ‘ruining’” their family with the divorce.
“He would not let me leave. It seemed like five minutes or more that I was trapped in the laundry room with him,” Porter said in the divorce documents.
“He told me that I better not call the police because if I did, our children would go to foster care,” Porter said. “More terrifying, Respondent then said ‘Do you want me to kill myself? Is that what you are trying to make happen here?”
Hoffman was the primary caretaker of the couple’s three children while Porter was the breadwinner for the family.
On April 30, 2013, Hoffman filed a restraining order with the Orange County Superior Court the day before Porter’s temporary order was set to expire.
The allegations against Porter come as she runs for Senate to replace Feinstein and after allegations of mistreating her staff.
Screenshots of text messages between Porter and her former Wounded Warrior program fellow, Sasha Georgiades, were published by the Dear White Staffers Twitter account last year.
Georgiades was Porter’s staffer for two years and departed the office in August.
Porter’s office denied Georgiades was fired for catching COVID-19 in a statement to Fox News Digital.
“This former employee was not fired. She was a fellow in our office, and weeks before she breached COVID protocol in July, we had already mutually agreed on an end date in August 2022,” a Porter spokesperson wrote.
“Congresswoman Porter was informing her that she would work from home for the remaining three weeks of her fellowship,” the spokesperson continued. “Following knowledge of COVID exposure, Congresswoman Porter tested twice daily and only attended in-person gatherings after negative results.”
If you or someone you know is a victim of domestic violence, you can call the National Domestic Violence Hotline at 1-800-799-7233.