Chris Collins resigns from Congress

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 30 September 2019 at 3:52 pm

File photo by Tom Rivers: Chris Collins speaks during the Orleans County Republican Rally in October 2018.

Chris Collins is out as the area’s congressman. He has submitted a letter of resignation from Congress today, with the letter going to Nancy Pelosi, House speaker, and also to Gov. Andrew Cuomo.

Collins is resigning a day before a change-of-plea hearing in an ongoing federal insider trading case.

Collins is accused of tipping off friends and family that the stock for Innate Immunotherapeutics, a pharmaceutical company, was about to take a steep dive. Collins was on Innate’s board and was a major investor in the Australian firm. He was indicted in August 2018.

He managed to hold off Nate McMurray, a Democrat, in a close re-election fight last November in the heavily Republican district. Collins was first elected to Congress in November 2012.

He leaves more than a year remaining on the current two-year term. Gov. Cuomo will decide whether there will be a special election or if the position will be unfilled for more than a year.

Collins was arrested along his son Cameron, and Stephen Zarsky, the father of Cameron’s fiancé. They were charged with conspiracy to commit securities fraud, one count of wire fraud, one count of conspiracy to commit wire fraud and one count each of making false statements to the FBI.

Collins has been stripped of his committee posts in the House since not long after the indictment. He remained active in the eight-county district in the past year, attending many Eagle Scout ceremonies, Republican rallies and picnics, and other community events.

Collins has been a strong advocate for Donald Trump and was the first member of Congress to endorse Trump’s candidacy.

Nate McMurray, who is running again for Congress, issued this statement:

“The real victims of Collins’ crimes are the people of his district that he repeatedly lied to about his guilt. Collins and Republican party insiders robbed his constituents of the representation they need on important issues like the rising cost of healthcare, the opioid epidemic, and the fight for good paying jobs. They all failed us, so I’m going to keep talking about the critical issues Western New Yorkers face every day, because that’s what public service should be about, working to make other people’s lives just a little bit better.”

State Sen. Rob Ortt also is running for Congress as a Republican. He issued this statement:

“It is vital that we continue to have a strong, conservative voice representing the residents of New York’s 27th Congressional District and elect a candidate who will defend President Trump’s agenda. I am the only candidate in this race who has proven that they are willing to do both. It is time that we send a battle-tested patriot to Washington who will stand up for our district, stand up to the Party of Impeachment, and push back against the radical socialists running our nation’s Democrat Party.”

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