Ethics investigators looking into GOP rep's investment partners: report

Ethics investigators looking into GOP rep's investment partners: report
© Victoria Sarno Jordan

Congressional ethics investigators are looking into Rep. Chris CollinsChristopher (Chris) Carl CollinsOn The Money: Economy adds 136K jobs in September | Jobless rate at 50-year low | Treasury IG to probe handling of Trump tax returns request | House presses Zuckerberg to testify on digital currency Two Collins associates plead guilty in insider trading case On The Money: Trump blames Fed as manufacturing falters | US to join Trump lawsuit over NY subpoena for tax returns | Ex-Rep. Chris Collins pleads guilty in insider trading case MORE's (R-N.Y.) role helping draw investors to an Australian biotech company, after multiple complaints that Collins may have violated the law.

According to a report by The Buffalo News, The Office of Government Ethics (OGE) is interviewing several of Collins’s investment partners this week, probing whether or not Collins persuaded investors into buying stock in the biotech company, Innate Immunotherapeutics.

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The ethics office has received at least four complaints involving Collins, Innate’s largest shareholder, and his investments with the firm. The complaints state that Collins was involved in 2016 legislation that could benefit Innate, prompting concerns he may have violated the law.

Federal lawmakers like Collins are prohibited from profiting off inside information when making investments.

The Buffalo News reported that it is unclear who exactly is being interviewed about the situation, but many have been asked to submit documentation about their investments.

“They’re following the data dump with interviews,” the source said. “There are more than a handful in Western New York who were investors.”

Collins’s spokesman said in a statement that the Republican had behaved ethically in his past investments.

“Despite the continued partisan attacks insinuating otherwise, Congressman Collins has followed all ethical guidelines related to his personal finances during his time in the House and will continue to do so,” Michael Kracker said.

Politico reported in January that Collins was overheard just off the House floor “bragging about ‘how many millionaires I’ve made in Buffalo’ in the last month.”

The complaints about Collins all involve his Innate investments and a 2016 stock tip he gave to then-Rep. Tom Price (R-Ga.), who is now Health and Human Services (HHS) secretary.