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 CollinsWhat a year it’s been: A month-by-month look back at 2018's biggest stories Trump vents frustration over wall funding, fueling uncertainty over shutdown GOP scrambles to prevent shutdown after right-wing insurrection MORE (R-N.Y.) and Duncan HunterDuncan Duane HunterWhat a year it’s been: A month-by-month look back at 2018's biggest stories Bipartisan lawmakers unveil bill to tighten some campaign rules California dreamin’ in the 2020 presidential race 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 DeutchOvernight Energy: Senators introduce bipartisan carbon tax bill | House climate panel unlikely to have subpoena power | Trump officials share plan to prevent lead poisoning Flake to co-introduce bipartisan climate bill House Dems talking more about impeaching Trump 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 BrownDem lawmaker: ‘Entirely inappropriate’ for Trump to talk politics during troop visit Overnight Defense: Almost half of border deployment sent home | Trump, Dems dig in as shutdown nears | Flynn associates charged over illegal lobbying Democrats with military background offer support for Pelosi 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.