Ethics Committee extends review of Chris Collins

Lester Mason
October 12, 2017

However, OCE dismissed an allegation that Collins bought discounted stock that was not available to the public and offered to him based on his status as a member of Congress. That, investigators found, could implicate federal insider-trading laws and the Stock Act - a 2012 law that makes clear members of Congress are covered by those existing laws.

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

The investigation was based on Collins' investment in Innate Immunotherapeutics, an Australian biotech firm.

A statement from Collins's legal team said the review was "spurred by unfounded accusations that trace their origin to political opponents", pointing specifically to Rep. Louise Slaughter (D-N.Y.). Congress has an insider trading problem, and Rep. Collins must have been incredibly brazen about his activities to get caught.

Based on that report, the House Ethics Committee said it was continuing its investigation of Collins, a Republican from Clarence and one of President Trump's strongest congressional allies.

"He put his obsession to enrich himself before the people he swore to represent", said Slaughter, a Fairport Democrat who authored the STOCK Act, the law that Collins may have violated. The meeting between Innate and the NIH, they added, was routine and in line with the agency's mission of supporting medical research and communicating health sciences information.

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

According to the congressional office's report, in November 2013 Collins asked a representative from the National Institutes of Health to meet with an Innate employee for the goal of discussing beginning clinical trials on a product the company was developing.

"Given Innate's intention to partner with, or become acquired by a large pharmaceutical company, updates on patient enrollment, the eventual completion of enrollment, and specific communications with pharmaceutical companies were likely important facts for investors making a decision about whether to purchase or sell Innate stock", the report said.

Price resigned in late September following a series of Politico reports about his use of private jets that cost taxpayers more than $400,000 instead of cheaper commercial alternatives. The official then invited Collins for a visit. In that meeting, Collins is alleged to have asked with help in designing Innate Immuno's drug trial.

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".

Other reports by Iphone Fresh

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