Indicted New York Republican Congressman Rep Chris Collins: A Crisis of His Own Making?

Rep. Chris Collins Visits Yahoo Lockport. Photo by Yahoo.

Last week in the announcement of the arrest of U.S. Rep Chris Collins’ (NY-27, R) by the DOJ’s Southern District of New York Attorney’s Office on charges of conspiracy, securities fraud, wire fraud, and lying to the FBI appears to have been a path of self-destruction the congressman set for himself starting back in 2013.

In a little paid attention to story by the Daily Beast from back in April 2017 writer Justice Glawe lays out a timeline of Christopher Collins’ first purchase of Innate Immunotherapeutics stock for $2.2 million in “a part of its initial public offering in late 2013” that went unreported, until then, when Collins filed with the securities authority… in Australia.

As a lawmaker in the U.S House of Representative Collins had considerable pull sitting on what is known as the Health Subcommittee of the Committee on Energy and Commerce where he has influence and oversight “setting into law the standards and process approval” within the FDA for new drugs.

“More than a year later, Collins wrote into a bill language to expedite the FDA’s approval process” for just the sort of drug Innate was looking to get approval for by the FDA to enter into the drug selling business in the United States.

In 2014 Collins disclosed on his financial disclosure form that he did not participate in any IPO, “but that’s not a crime,” the Daily Breast writes it discovered, because according to what is known as The Stop Trading on Congressional Knowledge Act, or STOCK Act, there is “a gaping loophole.”

“The law, passed to stop insider trading among members of Congress, only requires them to disclose involvement in U.S. IPOs, but not foreign ones…”

As the bill made its way through the congressional process, Collins again purchased more of Innate stock, this time for $1 million, four months before the bill would be signed into law.

In December 2016, Obama signed into law the 21st Century Cures Act which was, according to the site, “designed to help accelerate medical product development and bring new innovations and advances to patients who need them faster and more efficiently.”

A former lawyer in the Bush administration, Richard Painter, said Collins was being “highly reckless” and that “you’re asking for an investigation and maybe criminal prosecution” referring to Collins behaviors as a law maker.

On Monday, Daily Beast’s writer Justin Glawe reported that even though as of May Collins was no longer on the board of the Australian drug manufacturing company, and as TNB informed readers of the developing allegation that Collins has been using campaign funds for the past year to pay for his legal fees – implying he’s known he’s been under investigation for the charges he faces today, he remains invested in Innate and as of July, one month before his arrest, he was still writing and introducing legislation “that could help his company.”

“In July, Collins introduced a proposed bill that would remove infusion drugs (administered by needle) from a federal program called 340B that requires the pharmaceutical industry to sell drugs at steep discounts to hospitals serving poor patients. Many infusion drugs are used to treat deadly diseases like cancer and HIV and can costs tens or hundreds of thousands of dollars per year. Innate said in April it is developing a cancer treatment that could become an infusion drug, according to the company’s U.S. patent application for the treatment.”

The Daily Beast 8/13/18

Why This Matters

Because I cannot begin to do justice to the full scope and magnitude of this timeline, I highly recommend readers take the time to go read the two Daily Beast articles so you can get the full impact of what is being alleged Collins has done here beyond even his insider trading charges.

Because Collins is now saying he will not seek reelection I don’t see how there will ever be accountability for what he’s done within the halls of Capitol Hill as a law maker. He enriched himself, his family, his ‘circle’ at the expense of other Innate stock holders, now it is up to the state to prove their case against him in our justice system as is his right, but in my opinion, he did worse, he (further) eroded public trust in our legislative process, something we sorely do not need right now. Law exists now because of his actions and behaviors and his damage has been done. What, if anything, will law makers do to correct it?

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