Third term Republican Congressman from New York Chris Collins surrendered to the FBI early on Wednesday and was charged with misconduct related to insider trading. His investments in an Australian biotech company were under scrutiny after he allegedly used inside information which he passed on to at least one conspirator, saving the two more than three-quarters of a million dollars in stock trading losses.
In case this sounds like yet another white collar crime that no rich so-and-so could ever actually be held accountable for, remember — this is the same thing that Martha Stewart went to prison for.
Collins, a representative of the 27th district, on the southern shore of Lake Ontario, is a Tea Party Republican serving since 2013. He was also Donald Trump’s earliest congressional backer, the first federally elected official to endorse him. When Collins was named to Trump’s transition team, it was largely seen as a reward for his early support. It’s unclear who, if anyone, Collins recommended to Trump’s Cabinet, but that was to be his role on the transition — helping the President round out who would be team players in the administration.
In a strange sort of parallel to the President, Collins was charged along with his son in the high-profile crime.
But a trend of mirroring Trump is nothing new for Collins: In 2017, in an appearance with Chris Cuomo on CNN’s New Day, Collins told the host that Trump should not release his taxes — ever. In fact, Collins went on to say,
I’ve always said he shouldn’t report his taxes. I don’t think any elected official should.”
The filing against Collins in New York’s Southern District — the one represented by US Attorney Preet Bharara until he was fired by Trump — can be found here.
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