U.S. House Speaker Paul Ryan wasted no time in reacting to the indictment and arrest of Rep. Christopher Collins (R – N.Y.) on Wednesday when he announced he has stripped the three-term congressman of his chair on the House Energy and Commerce Committee.
2/ “… Until this matter is settled, Rep. Collins will no longer be serving on the House Energy and Commerce Committee.”
— Jake Tapper (@jaketapper) August 8, 2018
Federal prosecutors indicted Collins on charges of lying to the F.B.I., as well as securities and wire fraud in connection to an Australian biotech company, Innate Immunotherapeutics. Collins’ son and his son’s fiancée’s father were also indicted.
According to the indictment, the conspiracy allegedly began on June 22, 2017, while Collins was attending the White House’s Congressional picnic. He received an email from Innate’s CEO alerting him that the company’s highly touted drug had failed in clinical trials. He replied, “Wow. Makes no sense. How are these results even possible???”
Prosecutors say Collins then alerted his son, Cameron, to the results but didn’t trade shares himself, in part because he was already under investigation for his relationship with Innate by the Office of Congressional Ethics. Though Collins couldn’t trade his own stock, prosecutors say he tipped off his son in order to help him avoid losses. His son, in turn, told other associates, who sold stock in Innate as well. The drug test results were made public on June 26, 2017.
Collins not only sat on the board of the company but was also its largest shareholder. The heads-up allegedly saved Collins and his co-indictees $768,000.
Collins denies the allegations but in the meantime, he’ll be serving the people of New York’s 27th district without any coveted committee assignments.