In­dicted rep ends re-elec­tion bid

Still deny­ing in­sider trad­ing, Collins says he’ll fin­ish term

The Times-Tribune - - NATION&WORLD - BY KAREN MATTHEWS

NEW YORK — In an about-face, U.S. Rep. Chris Collins is end­ing his re-elec­tion bid days af­ter the Repub­li­can con­gress­man from New York was charged with in­sider trad­ing, while his Demo­cratic chal­lenger is call­ing on him to re­sign im­me­di­ately.

Collins re­leased a state­ment Satur­day morn­ing say­ing he will sus­pend his cam­paign and fin­ish the rest of his term. Collins was in­dicted Wed­nes­day on charges he passed in­side in­for­ma­tion about a biotech­nol­ogy com­pany to fam­ily mem­bers so they could profit from il­licit trades. He had said later that day he would re­main on the bal­lot de­spite the in­dict­ment and fight the charges.

But Collins re­versed him­self Satur­day. “I have de­cided that it is in the best in­ter­ests of the con­stituents of NY-27, the Repub­li­can Party and Pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump’s agenda for me to sus­pend my cam­paign for re-elec­tion to Congress,” his state­ment said.

He went on to say he will fill out his term and “con­tinue to fight the mer­it­less charges brought against me.” He has

de­nied any wrong­do­ing.

Collins’ de­ci­sion to end his re-elec­tion bid ap­peared to boost Democrats’ chances of tak­ing a solidly Repub­li­can dis­trict, but the an­nounce­ment left unan­swered ques­tions, in­clud­ing how Collins’ name could be re­moved from the bal­lot.

The Demo­cratic can­di­date in the Novem­ber elec­tion, Nate Mc­mur­ray, said in a state­ment Satur­day that Collins has no choice but to quit Congress, given the se­ri­ous­ness of the al­le­ga­tions against him.

It is “a con­tin­u­ing disgrace that both par­ties have not said, with one clear voice, ‘Re­sign, Mr. Collins, and do it to­day,’” said Mc­mur­ray, a su­per­vi­sor for the town of Grand Is­land in western New York.

Wed­nes­day’s in­dict­ment charges Collins and two oth­ers, in­clud­ing his son, with con­spir­acy, wire fraud and other counts.

Pros­e­cu­tors say the charges re­late to a scheme to gain in­sider in­for­ma­tion about a biotech­nol­ogy com­pany head­quar­tered in Syd­ney, with of­fices in Auck­land, New Zealand.

It is un­clear whether Collins’ name can be re­moved from the Novem­ber bal­lot at this point and whether Repub­li­can Party of­fi­cials will be able to nom­i­nate an­other can­di­date for the seat.

Un­der New York state elec­tion law, Collins’ name could be taken off the bal­lot un­der cer­tain nar­rowly de­fined cir­cum­stances that in­clude death, dis­qual­i­fi­ca­tion or be­ing nom­i­nated for a dif­fer­ent of­fice such as a county clerk­ship.

CHRIS COLLINScharged with Con­spir­acy, fraud

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