Politics

Rep. Collins suspends re-election campaign

WILLIAMSVILLE, N.Y. (WROC-TV) - Rep. Chris Collins says he is ending his campaign for re-election.

In a tweet, the lawmaker, who represents the 27th Congressional District which includes areas west and south of Rochester including the Buffalo area, says: "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."

The decision comes after Collins was arrested this week on charges of insider trading. Prosecutors say Collins, who served on the board of a biotech company that was testing a new medication to treat multiple sclerosis, tipped off his son to bad results for FDA trials for the drug before the company released that information to the public.

As a result, investigators say Collins' son Cameron sold off more than a million shares he owned in the company, Innate Immunotherapeutics, before the company's stock price cratered. Prosecutors say Cameron Collins also tipped off his girlfriend and her father, along with others, who all also sold shares.

When the bad news broke, Innate Immunotherapeutics's stock price fell 92 percent in a day. In total, prosecutors say Cameron Collins and people associated with him and his girlfriend's family saved more than $700,000 by selling.

Under law, as a boardmember, prosecutors say Collins had a legal duty to keep silent about the bad trial results until the company publicly disclosed the information. On top of that, investigators say Collins lied to FBI agents when he was questioned about the crimes.

Collins is charged with insider trading and lying to FBI agents. Cameron Collins and his girlfriend's father, Stephen Zarsky, were also arrested in the case.

Earlier this week, Collins said he would remain in the race and vowed to clear his name of any wrongdoing. Saturday, Collins says he will continue to fight the charges against him, but feels the criminal case has become a distraction.

Collins writes, "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."

Collins, however, won't resign and plans to fill out his term to "assure that our community maintains its vote in Congress to support President Trump's agenda."

Election officials have told News 8 and our sister station WTEN that, because it's so close to the election, Collins name will also remain on the ballot whether or not he drops out of the race.

Collins faces Democrat Nate McMurray in the race for the 27th Congressional District. This week, while speaking in Rochester, McMurray called on Collins to resign. He said, "I think he should do what’s right... And what’s right is he shouldn’t be in this election. But that’s his decision to make. He should not be here. He should have resigned a long time ago. He knew what he did was wrong. He’s been lying for a long time."


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