Corruption runs far and wide in Trump World. U.S. President Donald Trump faces the prospect of losing sway over at least one if not both houses of Congress via a “blue wave” in the midterms, but now, in the face of an insider trading scandal, he’s lost one of his Congressional allies.
New York’s GOP U.S. Rep. Chris Collins, who currently represents Congressional District 27, has announced that he’s suspending his campaign for re-election.
In a statement posted to Twitter, he explained:
‘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.’
Collins has long backed Trump’s agenda. He was the first member of Congress to endorse the businessman’s presidential bid back in 2016, but now, he faces charges of having passed off private information to his son and his son’s future father-in law that allowed them to sell off stocks and avoid losses. According to the charges against him, he also lied to federal investigators about his activities.
In his Saturday statement, he added:
‘I will also continue to fight the meritless charges brought against me and I loom forward to having my good name cleared of any wrongdoing.’
He got the private information that he passed onto Cameron Collins and Stephen Zarsky via his place on the board and pulling some of the financial strings of the bio-pharmaceuticals company Innate Immunotherapeutics. He alerted Collins and Zarsky after a clinical trial showed that a particular drug being developed by the company didn’t work.
Although he’s maintaining his innocence, his colleagues haven’t been so quick to support him. Rep. Tom Reed (R-N.Y.) and Kathleen Rice (D-N.Y.) introduced a resolution in the U.S. House after Collins’ indictment that, if passed, would forbid members of the body from serving on the boards of publicly traded companies like Innate Immunotherapeutics. There’s already a similar rule in place in the U.S. Senate.
Reps. Reed and Rice — without mentioning Collins by name — called out the type of behavior that led them to their resolution.
‘There should never be a doubt in the public’s mind to lead them to think their Representative could be corrupted or incriminated because of their stake or position in a private company. We owe the American people this fair assurance.’
Behind the scenes, Republicans concerned about holding onto their majority in the U.S. House pushed Collins to abandon his position. If he went up in November with the criminal charges against him in place, he could easily fail no matter how “red” the district is.
— Jimmy Vielkind (@JimmyVielkind) August 11, 2018
The GOP’s exact course forward isn’t immediately clear, as Collins already won the Republican Congressional primary and is on the general election ballot. Possible Collins replacements include New York State Assemblyman Ray Walter and state Senator Pat Gallivan. The GOP could endorse a write-in campaign for Walter, Gallivan, or someone else, since Collins likely won’t have his name stricken from the ballot ahead of November. His seat is one of dozens on the radar for Democrats ahead of November.
Featured Image via YouTube screenshot