Ethics watchdog: Rep. Collins may have violated federal law over stocks

Ethics watchdog: Rep. Collins may have violated federal law over stocks

A House ethics watchdog has found "substantial reason to believe" that Rep. Chris Collins violated federal law and congressional rules by meeting with government researchers in his official capacity to benefit a biotech company he is invested in and sharing private information to drum up investments in that company.

Collins, who has denied any wrongdoing, was the largest shareholder of Australia's Innate Immunotherapeutics Limited and sat on the company's board of directors.

He noted that the Office of Congressional Ethics dismissed other allegations against Collins, such as Rep. Louise M. Slaughter's charge that he wrote a provision in a bill called the 21st Century Cures Act to benefit Innate.

Turn 27 Blue, a coalition comprised of the eight Democratic Party chairs in Collins' congressional district and other grassroots groups founded for the goal of getting a Democrat elected to the 27 Congressional district, said in a statement Thursday that the Ethics Office report "makes it absolutely clear that the voters of New York's 27th district deserve better from their member of Congress".

Pursuant to Committee Rule 17A, the Committee hereby publishes OCE's Report and Findings relating to allegations against Representative Collins, and Representative Collins's response to OCE's Report and Findings. "I thank the House Ethics Committee for their meticulous review of this case and for the tough work they do to hold all Members of Congress accountable to the highest standards of conduct".

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A third allegation that Collins may have purchased discounted Innate stock that was only made available to him because he is a congressman should be dismissed, the board recommended.

The House ethics committee is investigating New York Rep. Chris Collins, the first Republican on Capitol Hill to endorse Donald Trump's presidential campaign, for potentially violating federal law and House rules regarding insider trading.

In a letter to the Office of Congressional Ethics, Collins' attorney, Mark Braden, argued that even if certain statements in the emails contained nonpublic information, it was not material to the decisions investors would eventually make.

OCE recommended to the ethics panel that the NIH meeting raised questions because Collins "took official actions or requested official actions that would assist a single entity in which he had a significant financial interest".

Members are prohibited from trading stocks using insider information under a law enacted in 2012.

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The House Ethics Committee has the power to issue subpoenas and punish lawmakers.

"He put his obsession to enrich himself before the people he swore to represent".

"Rep. Collins has done nothing improper, and his cooperation and candor during the OCE review process confirm he has nothing to hide", his legal team stated. Price was also an investor in Innate and served in the Trump administration as secretary of Health and Human Services until his resignation last month after reports of his extensive private charter travel at taxpayer expense.

Price did not cooperate with the OCE probe, according to the report.

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