Collins reverses course—will run, serve despite indictment

Sep 19, 2018

Rep. Chris Collins (R-Clarence) has announced that despite an indictment and earlier statements to the contrary, he will now continue to campaign for re-election and will not resign if successful in November.

The Collins campaign released the following statement on Wednesday:

My friends,

Voters can be assured that with the recent turn of events, they can count on me to actively campaign for Congress, and to serve should voters re-elect me. 

The stakes are too high to allow the radical left to take control of this seat in Congress.  Their agenda is clear.  They want to reverse the recently enacted tax cuts, impose Canadian style healthcare, inflict new job-killing regulations and impeach President Trump.  

We cannot stand by and let that happen.

As a result, I will fight on two fronts.  I will work to ensure the 27th Congressional District remains in Republican hands, while I fight to clear my good name in the courts."

Collins was indicted on insider trading charges in August. He then suspended his re-election campaign and until Monday. Republican leaders from across the 27th Congressional District had been meeting with candidates interested in taking his spot on the ballot.

On Monday, Republican officials  announced that they were told by Collins that on the advice of his criminal attorneys he could no longer cooperate with the efforts to have him seek some other office in order to swap him off the congressional ballot.

“Because of the protracted and uncertain nature of any legal effort to replace Congressman Collins, we do not see a path allowing Congressman Collins to be replaced on the ballot,” said Mark Braden, legal counsel for Collins in a prepared statement released to CNBC.

In August, the U.S. Justice Department filed charges against Collins, his son Cameron Collins and Stephen Zarsky, the father of Cameron Collins’ fiancée, in an alleged insider trading scheme.

The charges stem from his holdings in Innate Immunotherapeutics, an Australian biotechnology company on whose board of directors Chris Collins served. He was also one of the company's largest shareholders, according to federal prosecutors.

According to the indictment, Chris Collins passed on information about a failed drug trial so his son, Zarsky and others could make trades in 2017. By selling stock before the results of the trial were publicly released, the three men and other unnamed individuals avoided $768,000 in losses, prosecutors allege.

The indictment triggered an independent investigation launched by the House Ethics Committee. Collins, his son and Zarsky also face a civil lawsuit filed by the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission.