Ethics board: Investigation into Collins will continue

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

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

Rep. Chris CollinsChristopher (Chris) Carl CollinsTrump ally: Timing on Russian Federation investigation tweet "could have been better" Ethics investigators looking into GOP rep's investment partners: report GOP rep unaware of health bill's impact on his state despite voting for it MORE (R-N.Y.) may have violated federal law and House rules by sharing nonpublic information with investors of an Australian pharmaceutical company, the Office of Congressional Ethics alleged in a report released Thursday.

Rep. Collins is a frequent face on cable news, as he is one of the few Republican members of Congress who is willing to consistently go on television to defend Trump. A May 2017 Politico investigation revealed that 384 members of the House and Senate made no stock trades over the previous two years, 28 members of the House and six Senators made more than 100 trades often involving policy areas that they oversee.

The independent Office of Congressional Ethics conducted the initial review and submitted a 29-page report along with its recommendations to the ethics panel. "How do Western New Yorkers feel about Rep. Collins possibly breaking federal law by engaging in insider trading?" 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.

"Rep. Collins has done nothing improper, and his cooperation and candor during the OCE review process confirm he has nothing to hide", Mark Braden wrote in August to the Ethics Committee on the Congressman's behalf.

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.

Collins was the first member of Congress to back Trump's presidential run in 2016, and was a key ally in his fight to pass a bill repealing and replacing Obamacare.

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

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 visit to the NIH by Collins, a member of the House Energy and Commerce Committee, was scheduled and attended by his congressional staff. In that meeting, Collins is alleged to have asked with help in designing Innate Immuno's drug trial. The official then invited Collins for a visit.

They also recommended further review regarding Collins taking official actions or requesting official actions that would assist a single entity in which he had a significant financial interest, in violation of House rules and standards of conduct.

Advocacy groups say Collins sponsored legislation that could potentially benefit the company. 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 ethics watchdog concluded that details in the emails from Collins "were likely important facts for investors making a decision on whether to purchase or sell Innate stock".

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