House

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

The House Ethics Committee voted unanimously Thursday to establish investigative subcommittees to look into Reps. Chris Collins (R-N.Y.) and Duncan Hunter (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 Deutch (D-Fla.), while the investigation into Hunter will be led by Reps. Leonard Lance (R-N.J.) and Anthony Brown (D-Md.).

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.

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