Republican Representative Chris Collins has resigned his Congressional seat. Hours after his resignation, Collins pleaded guilty to charges regarding insider trading.
Collins’ resignation gained national attention, and media outlets like The New York Times, Reuters, Politico, and Forbes have all reported on the causes and effects of the guilty plea.
Garnering attention for being the first member of Congress to endorse Donald Trump for President back in 2016, Collins has “since channeled that fame into a spot on Mr. Trump’s transition team and frequent appearances on cable news.” While serving in Congress, Collins’ district also voted “more solidly for Trump than any other district in New York.”
In August, Collins was indicted by the U.S. attorney’s office in Manhattan. According to NBC News, “He was accused of using non-public information stemming from his relationship with an Australian medical biotech firm to help his family make illegal stock trades to avoid more than $768,000 in losses. He initially pleaded not guilty after he was first charged in 2018.”
Collins was a wealthy businessman in 2007; according to The New York Times, he made his fortune “by turning around struggling companies.” Collins won a county executive race, campaigning on the promise that we would “run government like a business.” Delivering that promise, Collins was able to cut debt and pull Erie County back from near bankruptcy.
Since Collins first entered the political scene, he has had his fair share of controversy. The New York Times reports that “In 2009, he called the Democratic Assembly speaker the “Antichrist,”” and “was overheard at a governor’s speech telling a woman that she could find a seat in exchange for a “lap dance.””
Collins represented New York’s 27th Congressional District since 2012. During this year, it was reported that Collins was one of the ten richest members of Congress.
Collins was arrested in August, 2018 on charges of insider trading and lying to the FBI. CNBC reports that “Federal prosecutors accused him of calling his son in a panic from the White House lawn to share information about a failed drug trial conducted by an Australian biotech company in which he was a major stakeholder.”
Allegedly, Collins’ son, Cameron, then sold thousands of shares of the company’s stock “before the drugmaker, Innate Immunotherapeutics, issued a press release about the failed trial. The company’s stock plummeted more than 90% in the next trading session after the press release was sent out, according to the indictment. [Cameron] Collins saved more than $570,000 by trading on the tip from his father.”
Although Collins suspended his reelection campaign soon after he was indicted, he started it back up after about a month. While first maintaining his innocence, Collins called The Buffalo News “the fake Buffalo News.” According to Politico, Collins “pleaded guilty to two felony insider trading charges, including conspiracy to commit securities fraud and lying to the FBI. His sentencing is scheduled for January and he faces up to five years in federal prison for each count.”