The ethics committee investigating Rep. Chris Collins reported back Thursday that there is enough evidence to justify further examination into the congressman and his ties to an Australian pharmaceutical company.
The Office of Congressional Ethics report stated that there is “substantial reason to believe” Collins, R-27th District, violated House rules, standards of conduct, and federal law.
The company in the crosshairs is Innate Immunotherapeutics, of which Collins was the largest shareholder. The report, initially adopted by OCE in July, recommends further review of the allegation the congressman shared non-public information in the purchase of Innate stock. It also claimed there was substantial reason to believe Collins took official action or requested official actions that would benefit the company he had a significant financial interest in.
The office did recommend dismissing allegations the Republican purchased discounted stock that was not available to the public and that was offered to him based on his status as a member of the House. In his response, Collins agreed with that assessment but rejected the first two.
Collins told the House Ethics Committee the recommendations should be dismissed without further investigation. He said the basis for the initial review were politically-motivated accusations from Democratic Congresswoman Louise Slaughter, who represents the neighboring 25th District.
In a new press release, Slaughter's office outright stated that Collins "put his obsession to enrich himself before the people he swore to represent. It is a disgrace to Congress and to his constituents, who deserve better.”
The House Ethics Committee said it can’t make any other public comment until the initial review is completed, and stressed that the investigation itself is not an indication that Collins did anything illegal.