Indicted GOP lawmaker to stay on ballot in New York this fall: report

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Indicted Rep. Chris Collins (R) will stay on the ballot in his New York congressional district this fall, the Buffalo News reported Monday.

Collins, who was arrested on insider trading charges this summer, is following the advice of his criminal attorneys who worry that Democrats would mount protracted legal battles if he removed his name, according to four unidentified sources cited in the article.

It’s unclear whether Collins, who had suspended his reelection campaign, would actually serve if elected this November or if he would immediately resign.

{mosads}Republicans had been scrambling to find a way to replace Collins on the ballot in New York, where election experts say there are only three ways someone can be removed from the ballot this late in the game: If the candidate runs for another office, moves out of state or dies.

Meanwhile, Democrats have threatened to sue to keep Collins on the ballot, believing they have a better shot of flipping the red, Buffalo-area seat if the embattled congressman’s name stays on the ballot. Democrats also want to keep Republicans from replacing him with a potentially less-toxic candidate. 

“In the most stark sign that House Republicans are a corrupt and unethical body only out to benefit themselves and their special interests, there are now two indicted Republicans on the ballot in November,” Meredith Kelly, communications director for the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, said in a statement on Monday.

“The voters of New York 27th Congressional District now have the clearest of choices between scandal-plagued Chris Collins and Nate McMurray, who will be a real fighter for the families of Western New York, and the stakes just got a whole lot higher on November 6th.”

Collins’s indictment came the same month that Rep. Duncan Hunter (R-Calif.) was charged with misusing campaign funds.

Prosecutors allege that Collins, who served on Innate Immunotherapeutics’s board of directors, gave nonpublic information about drug trial results to his son to help him “make timely trades in Innate stock and tip others.”

Collins did not sell his Innate shares and lost roughly $17 million after the results were announced, but his son reportedly avoided more than $570,000 in losses because of the alleged tip from the congressman.

— This report was updated at 1:27 p.m.

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