House panels set up to probe indicted GOP Reps. Collins, Hunter

House panels set up to probe indicted GOP Reps. Collins, Hunter
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The House Ethics Committee voted unanimously Thursday to establish investigative subcommittees to look into Reps. Chris CollinsChristopher (Chris) Carl CollinsHouse Dems release 2020 GOP 'retirements to watch' for Fighting AIDS domestically and globally means pushing more evidence-based services House Dems unveil initial GOP targets in 2020 MORE (R-N.Y.) and Duncan HunterDuncan Duane HunterHouse Dems release 2020 GOP 'retirements to watch' for House Dems unveil initial GOP targets in 2020 What a year it’s been: A month-by-month look back at 2018's biggest stories MORE (R-Calif.) after their indictments last month.

Collins, who was arrested in early August, faces charges of insider trading and lying to federal agents. Hunter and his wife, Margaret, are being charged with misusing $250,000 in campaign funds and falsifying campaign records. Both lawmakers maintain their innocence.

The special panels will launch probes into whether the congressmen violated the House's official code of conduct. The subcommittee investigating Collins will be led by Reps. Mimi Walters (R-Calif.) and Ted DeutchTheodore (Ted) Eliot DeutchHouse panel advances bill to expand background checks for gun sales Whitaker takes grilling from House lawmakers Parkland father on Gaetz advocating for border wall in gun violence hearing: 'Pretty offensive' MORE (D-Fla.), while the investigation into Hunter will be led by Reps. Leonard LanceLeonard LanceIncoming Dem lawmaker: Trump 'sympathizes' with leaders 'accused of moral transgressions' On The Money: Why the tax law failed to save the GOP majority | Grassley opts for Finance gavel, setting Graham up for Judiciary | Trump says China eager for trade deal | Facebook reeling after damning NYT report Tax law failed to save GOP majority MORE (R-N.J.) and Anthony BrownAnthony Gregory BrownOvernight Defense: Gillibrand offers bill to let transgender troops serve | Pentagon ready to protect US personnel in Venezuela | Dems revive fight with Trump over Saudis Gillibrand introduces bipartisan bill to allow transgender military service Dem bill would let essential workers collect unemployment during shutdown MORE (D-Md.).

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The Ethics Committee said it will defer its consideration to the Department of Justice at the agency's request while court proceedings continue.

The announcement comes just two months before the November midterm elections as Republicans fight to hold on to the majority in the House.

Democrats are looking to pick up Collins's and Hunter's seats, both of which were once considered GOP strongholds.

Election handicappers at the nonpartisan Cook Political Report shifted both districts following the indictments last month.

Collins announced he would not seek reelection, while Hunter maintains an 8-point lead over his Democratic opponent, Ammar Campa-Najjar, according to a recent poll conducted for the Union-Tribune by SurveyUSA.