Chris Collins suspends campaign, 3 days after being indicted for insider trading

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 11 August 2018 at 1:11 pm

Chris Collins

WILLIAMSVILLE – Congressman Chris Collins has suspended his campaign for re-election, three days after he was indicted on federal charges.

Collins is accused of insider trading, 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.

Collins was arrested along his son Cameron, and Stephen Zarsky, the father of Cameron’s fiancé. They have been 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 on Wednesday said he would push on in his campaign for re-election. He has been in Congress for six years, in a solidly Republican district that includes Orleans and seven other counties.

Collins issued the following statement today:

“Democrats are laser focused on taking back the House, electing Nancy Pelosi Speaker and then launching impeachment proceedings against President Trump. They would like nothing more than to elect an ‘Impeach Trump’ Democrat in this District, which is something that neither our country or my party can afford.

“After extensive discussions with my family and my friends over the last few days, I have decided that it is in the best interests of the constituents of NY-27, the Republican Party and President Trump’s agenda for me to suspend my campaign for re-election to Congress.

“I will fill out the remaining few months of my term to assure that our community maintains its vote in Congress to support President Trump’s agenda to create jobs, eliminate regulations, reduce the size of government, address immigration and lower taxes.

“I will also continue to fight the meritless charges brought against me and I look forward to having my good name cleared of any wrongdoing.”

Six years ago Lyndonville native David Bellavia challenged Collins in the race. Bellavia, an Iraq War veteran and radio talk show host, issued this statement on Twitter: “Help is on the way. Integrity will be restored in #NY27.” Bellavia didn’t detail if he would seek the position.

Nate McMurray, a Democrat seeking election to the 27th, called on Collins to resign earlier today.

“I can’t believe, several days after this news, that my opponent is still in this race and that the Republican establishment is not saying in unison ‘resign,’” McMurray posted on Twitter. “Mr. Collins, please do the right thing. Step down. They knew this was coming. You should’ve never even been endorsed.”

Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi issued this statement:

“Speaker Ryan must call on Congressman Collins to resign. No person is above the law, not the President nor his first supporter in Congress.

“This insufficient and overdue announcement does little to drain the toxic cesspool of self-enrichment, special interest deals and corruption that has proliferated in Washington under GOP control.

“Over and over, the Republicans’ brazen corruption, cronyism and incompetence has left hard-working families in the cold, as the GOP Congress races to put the profits of special interests and lobbyists before the well-being of the American people. Families face a future of polluted air, dirty water and soaring prescription drug prices under the GOP’s cynical donor-driven agenda.”

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