Rep. Collins may have broken federal law for sharing private information

Rep. Collins may have broken federal law for sharing private information

Congressional investigators say there is a "substantial reason to believe" Republican Rep. Chris Collins of NY shared material, non-public information about a drug company he had a major financial stake in and took official actions to assist the company.

"Rep. Collins has done nothing improper, and his cooperation and candor during the OCE review process confirm he has nothing to hide", wrote attorney E. Mark Braden in a letter to the House Ethics Committee.

They dismissed the allegation Collins purchased discounted stock that was not available to the public and that was offered to him based on his status as a Member of the House of Representatives.

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". "How do Western New Yorkers feel about Rep. Collins possibly breaking federal law by engaging in insider trading?"

The House ethics committee, according to its website, can report to appropriate federal or state authorities substantial evidence of a violation of any law applicable to the performance of official duties that may have been disclosed in a Committee investigation. The panel is reviewing whether Collins has violated the chamber's rules of conduct but has yet to make any determination and declined to make any comment Thursday.

The report recommends the House ethics committee subpoena the 10 individuals and entities that refused to cooperate with the board's investigation, including Tom Price, former secretary of the Department of Health and Human Services, Innate and its CEO, Simon Wilkinson, and Collins' former legislative assistant, Jeff Freeland.

But it did find other new instances of potential wrongdoing - notably, a November 18, 2013, visit to the National Institutes of Health, where Collins and a House staffer visited with a key researcher into multiple sclerosis.

The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee ripped Collins. Yet Collins told OCE that he went to the NIH as a private citizen and described the visit as a "tour", a "high school field trip", and like going "to the Smithsonian".

A congressional ethics panel Thursday found "substantial reason to believe" that an upstate congressman and key President Trump supporter broke federal law.

"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.

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.

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