Rep. Chris Collins has suspended his re-election campaign, stating he'll use his remaining time in office representing New York's 27th District to support Republican objectives and President Donald Trump.
The surprise Saturday morning announcement comes after a week where Collins was indicted, pleaded not guilty to charges of insider trading, specifically conspiracy to commit securities fraud, then vowed to fight on.
On Wednesday morning, the indictment against Collins was levied. It outlined accusations of insider trading; that Chris Collins repeatedly called his son, Cameron, to tell him that a clinical drug trial for a multiple sclerosis drug developed by Innate Immunotherapeutics was going to come back negative. Chris Collins sat on the board of directors of the Australia-based biotech company.
Cameron Collins allegedly sold more than a million shares of the company stock in short order, then told his his fiancée, soon-to-be in-laws and others. That chain reaction allegedly saved all parties involved a total of more than $768,000 in losses when the stock dropped.
After pleading not guilty that afternoon to all 11 counts, Collins returned to his home base of Buffalo, saying the charges against him were meritless.
However, Collins found tepid support from local Republicans at best. While the party did not call for him to stop campaigning, leaders openly questioned how effective he could be while navigating his legal troubles. The Erie County Republican Committee chair even said he believed there would be a mechanism to remove Collins from the ballot if he decided to stop his campaign.
In light of the latest turn of events, Democrats renewed calls for Collins to step down.
Collins has been in Congress since his election win in 2012.