The indictment charging Rep. Chris Collins (R-Clarence) and his son with insider trading has raised questions about this November's congressional elections. His GOP colleague in Western New York, Tom Reed said he recognizes the indictment represents "serious allegations," but Collins' decision to stay on the ballot is a family decision.
The Southern Tier representative was on President Donald Trump's transition team with Collins, and the two Western New Yorkers have remained a sort of "tag team" of support for the GOP.
During a stop at WBFO Rochester affiliate WXXI, Reed was asked if he agreed with Collins' decision to continue on the ballot for the 27th District in light of the indictment for insider trading.
"Ah, it really is up to him. He and his family know the details ofthe situation. I don't know the details," Reed told WXXI's Randy Gorbman, "but they are serious allegations and I recognize that they are serious allegations, and the best thing that could happen here, in my opinion, is he makes those decisions and moves forward and ultimately the people weigh in. The people on election day. That's the wisdom I trust."
As to how much the indictment may tarnish the GOP overall this November, Reed said such serious allegations impact the House of Representatives as a whole - Republicans and Democrats. However, he believes Republicans will be successful in the upcoming election if they continue to push achievements since Trump took office.
"Obviously, when you have serious allegations like this, the implications to the House of Representatives as a whole - Democrats and Republicans - we as an institution have a favorability rating next to nothing and obviously this doesn't help that situation." Reed said. "But hopefully we can get back to functioning, working together to solve the problems of the people back home."
After his arraigment Wednesday, Collins alluded to what the defense he intends in court. Collins noted that he, himself, did not sell any of his "millions of dollars" worth of stock invested in Innate Immunotherapeutics when the biotech company's new drug to treat multiple sclerosis failed in clinical trials.
The indictment points out that as a board member of the company, Collins was "virtually" barred from trading his own shares because the House Ethics Committee was already investigating and the shares are held in Australia "and thus subject to the Australian trading halt."
Company shares held by Collins' son Cameron, however, were not held in Australia. The indictment states that the son placed an online trade order with his brokerage firm "at approximately 7:43 a.m." the morning after the congressman shared the news about the drug's failure. The indictment also states that Cameron Collins also shared the news with others.