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Ethics Watchdog: Chris Collins Likely Broke the Law
According to a report released Thursday by the nonpartisan Office for Congressional Ethics (OGE), Rep. Chris Collins (R-NY) likely ran afoul of ethics rules and federal law by unlawfully disclosing information about biotech firm Innate Immunotherapeutics, of which he is a board member, and by taking actions as a lawmaker to directly help the company. As a result, the watchdog is calling for a full House investigation into his activities in both regards.
From the report:
The Board recommends that the Committee on Ethics further review the above allegation because there is a substantial reason to believe that Representative Collins shared material nonpublic information in the purchase of Innate stock, in violation of House rules, standards of conduct, and federal law.
The Board recommends that the Committee on Ethics further review the above allegation because there is a substantial reason to believe that Representative Collins took official actions or requested 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
There had been some thought that Collins may have bought discounted stock at a sweet price because of his position as a lawmaker, but OGE concluded that, “there is not a substantial reason to believe that Representative Collins purchased discounted stock thatwas not available to the public and that was offered to him based on his status as a Member of the House of Representatives.”
The House Ethics Committee will now decide whether or not to conduct a more involved review of the allegations. The committee announced on Thursday that it is extending the time period open for review of the allegations, but declined to comment on whether or not it will take further action on the two recommendations on OGE or bring charges against Collins.