Panel asks probe of congressman
Rep. Chris Collins, R-N.Y., accused of ethics violations
WASHINGTON — Congressional investigators say there is a “substantial reason to believe” Republican Rep. Chris Collins of New York shared material, nonpublic information about a drug company he had a major financial stake in and took official actions to assist the company.
The conclusions were included in an announcement Thursday from the House Ethics Committee that it was extending its review of the three-term congressman, an early and strong supporter of President Donald Trump.
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. An ethics watchdog group alleged Collins sponsored legislation that would benefit the company and said his active stock trading warranted investigation.
The independent Office of Congressional Ethics conducted the initial review and submitted a 29-page report along with its recommendations to the ethics panel.
The OCE recommended the Ethics Committee further review two allegations against Collins:
That he shared nonpublic ■ information that may have been important to investors deciding whether to purchase Innate stock.
That he used his official ■ role as a congressman to assist Innate by discussing the company with National Institutes of Health employees and requesting that a government researcher meet with the company’s chief scientific officer.
The OCE recommended the dismissal of a third allegation that Collins purchased discounted stock offered to him because he’s a congressman.
Rep. Chris Collins, R-N.Y., is accused of using his office to improve the prospects of an Australian drug company in which he was the largest shareholder.